Allow me to introduce you to Chaplain Mark, or Padre Mark if you like. Correct me if I am wrong but I think the term Chaplain is more widely used in the RAAF and Navy and Padre is more common in the Army, just in case the civialian population of readers is wondering.
Anyway, back to last night. Chaplain Mark is the one of the first chaplains I liaised with when Aussie Heroes first got started up way back in January last year. I have just gone over some of our first emails and in one of them when we were setting up the procedures for getting things over there I asked about sending boxes of laundry bags.
"Can you please give some thought to the laundry bags. They are much quicker to make and there may be a stash of them to send but they don’t take up much space so sending one at a time in a box is a waste. Is it possible to send a batch in one box and then have them distributed or is that going to complicate things too much?"
and here is Chaplain Mark's response
"Laundry bags ... mmmm. Some locations are issued laundry bags due to the fact that a contractor washes them, saves water. Other places, though, they would come in handy"
He reminded me last night that he was initially not really convinced that the laundry bags would work. Let's just say he does not think that now! :-D
I often make the offer to those I have a little more contact with whilst they are deployed that if ever they are in my area they would be more than welcome to call me for a cuppa or a meal. I have to say it was so nice last night to be able to sit around the table and just talk. it is so nice to meet people face to face instead of over the phone or via email or facebook message all the time. I had met Chaplain Mark last August when I went to Canberra but that was only briefly. We worked hard last night and managed to get 11 boxes packed, addressed, labeled and taped AND loaded in my car ready for the morning.
Thanks so much for your help both of you.
Sadly I had to edit myself out of this picture so that I could cut out most of the address on the box being held up otherwise you would have seen me too! Honest! :-D
Here is proof of the fruits of our labour. Eight boxes on the trolley, two in the orange bag plus the extra pink one (for someone who needs a little boost) and a few misc parcels in the red bag!
Oh and one funny thing that happened whilst we were packing boxes. My phone rang ......a blocked number........and would you believe that it was a deployed chaplain calling me to thank me for his just received laundry bag......and this chaplain and Chaplain Mark actually trained together in the early days of their military career. I handed the phone to Chaplain Mark and they had a few good minutes catching up much to the surprise of the caller! :-D Sometimes timing is everything!
So, time for some thank you messages.
Just wanted to say a big thank you for your lovely laundry bags! I have taken the Blue Hawaii one and have given the others out to members of the new health team here in XXXXX
Your kindness is very much appreciated.
Dear Joan & Robin,
Thank you for the laundry bag! it is exactly what I needed and certainly adds some colour to my room. Thank you for all your time, effort and resources that you put in to making these laundry bags for us, it really is a morale booster!
Take care and warm regards :)
Hello Joan and Robin,
thank you very much for the "turtles" laundry bag.
It provides a little bit of colour to my otherwise green and brown room.
I left Australia in July and am currently deployed to Afghanistan. I am looking forward to getting home at the end of the year, hopefully before Xmas - and then joining my family on a beach holiday in Queensland.
I chose the turtle laundry bag, because the turtles do remind me of the beach.
You perform a sterling service through the Aussie Heroes organisation - we thank you very much for your efforts in support of the personnel of the ADF deployed throughout the Middle East. Please keep up the good work - it many a smile on the face of many deployed personnel.
I'd just like to send my personal thanks to you for the Aussie Hero Quilt that you sent. It is nice to feel appreciated for the work we are doing. I thank you for the letter, and please know that I am grateful for the time and effort taken to make the quilt and post it over here.
Thank you very much for the Care Package that you sent to Afghanistan. The Aussie Hero Quilt that you sent was greatly appreciated. Your letter was heart warming. It is great to know that Australians appreciate why we are in Afghanistan and the job we are doing. I believe I can speak for soldier when I say that, knowing you took time to send something, makes the difficult time we have being away from our families and friends a little more bearable.
Thank you very much for te laundry bag you made for me. The gift is greatly appreciated. The thought that someone cares and takes time to make a gift for us over here makes a huge difference to our time spent away.
When walking to the laundry room you see all the different coloured hand made laundry bags and it always brings a smile to the faces of the guys and the girls over here. We live in an area where we wear uniforms at all times and the terrain is rocks and dust. It is nice to have a little colour in our lives and a gift of home.
I wish you all the best with your continued remarkable work making quilts and laundry bags and carrying out fundraising work. You sound like an amazing selfless woman.
Thank you again for your beautiful gift.
I'd just like to send my personal thanks to you for the Aussie Hero Quilt that you sent. It is nice to feel appreciated for the work we are doing.
I thank you for the letter and please know that I am grateful for the time and effort taken to make the quilt and post it over here.
Dear Rob and Liz B,
Firstly I would like to apologise for how long it has taken me to send this thank you email, my only defence is it has been an extremely busy time for me over the last month and I am just starting to get some breathing space now.
I would like to thank you both for the job you are doing with these quilts, it's very much appreciated and it really brightens your day when you receive a parcel in the mail. I am heading home shortly for a little break and intend on taking my quilt home with me for my two beautiful girls to snuggle under while they are watching TV. Hopefully it will remind them of me when I come back.
I had better get back to it, thank you so much again for my beautiful quilt. Take care, enjoy the beautiful spring weather and God Bless to you both.
This is not exactly a thank you message but I thought you would like to see it anyway. This is our lovely Harold, the Dag from the Old Bags and the Dag!
I am not sure how clear the writing will be so here is a transcript
"Harold McCrone is part of the sewing group at the Heritage Lodge which sews quilts and laundry bags for Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The project started a few months ago when Margaret H, a nurse at Heritage Lodge, heard about a website called Aussie Hero Quilts.
She approached the people on the website and they were eager to have laundry bags donated and since then the group has completed 30 laundry bags and five quilts to send to Afghanistan.
"I got involved in the sewing group because I wanted to fund raise for our Heritage Lodge activities fund," Mr McCrone said.
"When I first arrived we were taken out on a Tweed River Boat Cruise and when we got off I asked how soon before we could all go again.
'The nurse, Margaret H said I could join the sewing group and help raise money for the next boat trip and I haven't looked back since."
The sewing group now does a mixture of tasks, with some items being created to raise money for the Heritage Lodge residents and some are for the soldiers.
Margaret brings in material which is either precut by her or she gets Mr McCrone to trace out the shapes and she cuts them for him.
The sewing group meets once a fortnight when they work on a quilt of they work in one of the laundry bags to be sent off to the soldiers.
"I have started making quilts for myself and my family to keep me busy and I like to do an hour of sewing in the morning and in the afternoon as long as I have the material," Mr McCrone said.
"Last year Margaret came in and asked me to trace 180 shapes onto some material which we then cut up and sew in to a quilt. I submitted the finished quilt in to Murwillumbah Show last November and won first prize.
The sewing group is in need of donations of material scraps. To donate, contact the staff on 66728811"
How inspirational is Harold! Not to mention all the other wonderful people up there!!!
As always on a Thursday night here is the list of people who have sent off quilts or laundry bags this week. If you are not on the list and think you should be please let me know.