Tuesday, 9 September 2014

From us to youThank You RAAF Richmond


Good ideas usually take seed in the heart of just one or two people and the idea for the Aussie Hero Friends visit to RAAF Richmond was first dreamed up by Jacqui and her husband and then put forward by Jacqui to her boss and then up the chain. 

As  just about always happens in the services, if you suggest something there is a fairly good chance that you will be picked to make it happen. This was the case with our visit to RAAF Base Richmond on the 3rd of September but Jacqui took it, ran with it and was instrumental in its success.  I am still waiting for the photos to be available so in the mean time there are a few other things to share.

No good deed goes unpunished as they say and our way of saying thank you to those that put the day together for us was to make some laundry bags.  They were our hostess gift if you like and I featured them last week.  
One of the special bags we presented was made by Stephanie T for Jacqui.   
Our favourite air movements operator is a big Trekkie fan and also loves lego 
(well who doesn't it?) 
Jacqui is now the proud owner of the one and only Aussie Heroes Lego Laundry Bag!

EDIT!! I have just been corrected by Jacqui as i called her an Air Movements Offficer.  She corrected me (mere slip of the fingers on the keyboard) and reminded me that she is not an officer, she works for a living! LOL


In this photo you can also see Jacqui consuming her other "gift".....homemade brownies....
As if I could have turned up without those.


Now I could sit here and tell you all about the day but you are used to me telling you how much what we do is appreciated and how we are received by service personnel once they learn who we are. I thought this was a good time for others to tell you how the day at Richmond affected them. 

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From Deputy Nut,  AKA Caroline

What an awesome day... It's all that keeps going through my head.
Thank you RAAF Richmond for treating us like VIPs for the day, for taking time out of your busy schedules to show us things that you see every day and giving me a peek into what you do for Australia.

From the minute we stepped on the buses the excitement started. To walk into the welcoming area and see some of our quilts and laundry bags on display was fabulous. Our lovely bus driver James was so proud to talk about the one he received from Stephanie T who was there to hear his words and get a special picture.

Throughout the day all the guys and girls we interacted with patiently explained what they do as part of the RAAF.  We got to interact with personnel from communications, fire fighting, dog handling and I loved the Hercules aircraft we got to get up close and personal with. They all did a lovely job explaining what their jobs involved and some of the equipment they use. Very articulate and confident was the impression I got from all that I spoke to.

Pam was a very proud mamma bird when it was her son's turn to talk. In the comms area there was another lovely display of received quilts and laundry bags. Whilst we were sitting there guys and girls began filtering in behind our seats.  As we stood up to move forward to chat I took a moment to turn around, wow I hadn't noticed that many walk past. I was proud to see all our young men and women standing there thanking us for thanking them. What a proud Aussie moment. This was my highlight. It was right there that I was so glad that I found that Aussie Hero blog that day in 2012 and felt compelled to get involved. It was all worth it to hear how much what we do boosts the moral of members away from their families.

Whilst we were there several presentations were made to all the Aussie Hero's volunteers via Jan-Maree, the words and sentiments I'm sure she will share. We were given some lovely mementoes to remember the day, and with our own paparazzi in toe I'm sure you will be able to enjoy the day as much as us.

A special thank you to Jackie and her husband Daniel who put so much time and effort into the day please know I am so grateful. Thank you also to our lovely escorts throughout the day. Thank you RAAF Richmond for a day I will never forget.  ..... 
Signing off to go and sew!
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To Jacqui and all those personnel who made my trip to the RAAF Base a day that I will not Forget!!!!

As a Defence Force Mother, I really wasn't that surprised at the warm welcome extended to us at Richmond.  It is something that I tend to know I will receive when visiting any of our facilities.

It was very interesting to see what takes place behind the scenes both here in Australia and overseas.  I was particularly interested to see the communications equipment which enables those who are deployed to stay in contact with their loved ones at home.  I know this is a tremendous comfort to my family.  Thank you so much for making this possible!

How wonderful are the Attack Dogs!  I must admit that I wouldn't like to come face to face with them off leash.  It is clear to see the bond the handlers have with their dogs and visa versa.

The Fire Fighting section was also very interesting, guess it is every boys dream to ride in those trucks.  It was also a pleasant surprise to meet Jake C, its a small world, he comes from Murwillumbah where I live and quite possibly played football with one of my sons.  

What a lovely surprise it was to receive my bag of goodies!  It was very much appreciated and a lovely gesture to say thank you, but it is all Australians who should be thanking you for the amazing job you all do for our country.  I will treasure the Coins and keep them in pride of place along with the letters of thanks that I have received previously.

The Hercules is amazing! The pilots who fly these aircraft and those who work within getting supplies distributed far and wide are to be congratulated for their work.   Now I really feel for my son when he has to travel in these aircraft! (That's just a Mum talking).  

Thank you all once again for a memorable day.  Even though there was a cold wind blowing, it was a truly heart warming day.


Kindest Regards
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I am continually humbled by the response from the Defence Force personnel. In my mind when I first started sewing for AHQ, it seemed such a small thing we do however the feedback we receive makes it so much larger than I ever expected.  Sometimes it seems there are no words to express the feelings of gratitude for a gift from a complete stranger whether it be a quilt or LB.
I think seeing one of the female members carrying her quilt around under her arm all day on Wednesday says it all. "thank you, this is mine and no-one is taking it from me - Its a treasure I will never let go."
I will continue to sew for AHQ for as long as I am able to do so. This is my gift and thanks for all the guys & girls do for us.

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Just letting you know that Rob and I had a terrific day at Richmond RAAF Base last Wednesday.
We were both very humbled by the effort they all went to to show their appreciation for what we do and, although we don’t expect to be thanked in such a way, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Their gratitude and the stories we heard throughout the day regarding the boost to morale that the receiving of laundry bags and quilts does for the troops makes me realise that we are definitely making a difference and reinforces my original reasons for becoming an Aussie Hero quilter –  I wanted them to know that Rob and I are proud of them and we don’t want them coming back home feeling that they are forgotten and that no-one really cares or supports them.

A big thank you to Jacquie for all her work arranging the day – it’s takes a lot of effort to co-ordinate a day like that.
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When the invitation to visit Richmond air base first came, I very quickly decided that I would like to go. I had no idea what to expect, and couldn’t imagine how we would fill a whole day there.


What we experienced was amazing.

In talking informally to the men and women who work at the base, in their many and varied roles, what came through was their genuine admiration for what we do. Those who had been deployed and had received quilts and laundry bags kept telling us how much brighter their rooms were, how much they appreciated the gifts we had sent, and how much they valued their quilts and laundry bags. We saw examples of our quilts which were obviously well-loved and well-used. Every time we thanked them for putting on a wonderful day for us, they said it was nothing compared to what we had done for them and their mates.

I knew beforehand that what we do makes a difference, but all the Aussie Hero Friends who attended were left in no doubt that the difference we make is enormous.

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Please thank RAAF Base Richmond for the great opportunity to visit the base and meet with the wonderful men and women who serve our country. 
It was great to hear from the source how much our quilts and laundry bags mean to them when they are away from home.  At every unit we visited members had received gifts from Aussie Hero's and we all were very warmly welcomed.  I really liked the display of quilts they put up for us and it was so great to meet one of my recipients and hear that he enjoyed my quilt.
Thanks to the units that put presentations on for us its interesting to hear and see what they do. Also was a great buzz to receive our gift bags and be present while Aussie Hero's was honored with citations and presentations.
It was a really great day, thank you for the opportunity.
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On Wednesday the 3rd of September the the ladies and gents from Aussie Heros visited Richmond RAAF base.
We were welcomed by our lovely escorts for the day with huge smiles and happy faces,they were looking forward to the day I think as much as we were.  We had morning tea, were shown a video and off we went. We were shown a lot of things, the RAAF staff were very welcoming to all of us.  They didn't mind us asking questions.  They had some of the quilts and bags on display which was wonderful,they are very proud of their quilts.
We were shown different things in different areas.   We all had a blast.
All the people we met were wonderful,some of the recipients were there with their quilts,others were presented with bags on the day.  I don't think they were expecting to get a laundry bag,the smiles on their faces said it all. They were priceless.
We were given a lovely BBQ lunch and presented with a goodies bag.
Over all it was an amazing day,and I would to say a very big thankyou to everyone we met, to our escorts for giving us a lovely time and to everyone involved on the day.
We had an amazing time.
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We had the most wonderful day at Richmond RAAF Base, many thanks to all.
Words can’t explain what a  wonderful day we experienced. Those exceptional young people make us so proud & humble at the same time.
We were treated with respect & humour, a good mix.

We enjoyed a lovely Sausage Sizzle & Salad lunch in the charming little old cottage on base, one expects it may have been one of the original buildings. After lunch the surprises kept coming with the presentation of “Goodie Bags” (see photo) and a Special Medallion to all who attended, most unexpected.
I felt like a kid again being handed presents from Santa.

Jacki & her team did an amazing job, for which we are most grateful.

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I was blown away by my visit to the RAAF base. The kindness and consideration shown was extraordinary.  It was a wonderful day out for us but it was a normal work day for the defence members. Nobody seemed to be put out by the disruption of forty or so women (and men) wandering around asking what's this and how does this work. The patience shown (especially when being asked questions by a non-military person ie me!) was very much appreciated. Even though I don't know a lot about military life I can still imagine the work and organising that went into the day. 

The gift bag was so unexpected as I felt the day itself was a gift. So to receive something in addition, well a lot of something's actually, it made the day even more fabulous (if that is possible). 

As we neared the end and it edged closer to leaving, even though my feet were telling me it was time to go home,  I didn't want the day to end. But two things stay with me the most. The honour of being presented with the coins and the genuine appreciation conveyed by those who received quilts whilst deployed. The reason they stood out  is that it cemented in my mind that what we do matters. Sometimes when I have been sewing (whether it be a quilt or laundry bag) I wonder whether it makes a difference to their deployment or is just a nice gift (which is fine too)  but hearing in person the stories of what it meant to receive a quilt, or being given a coin as a thank you has made me wonder no more. I am in awe of the people that serve in the Australian Defence Force. Never in a million years would I be able to do the job they do. I am just grateful that Aussie Hero Quilts exists so I can do my teeny tiny contribution. The experience of the visit the RAAF Richmond will be a treasured memory forever. 
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I have no personal association with any military service arm but I have always been a supporter of the men and women.  I joined AHQ as a means for me to enjoy some sewing creativity for myself, while also helping to keep me mentally active and my hands useful.  The fact that my quilt tops were going to young men and women in deployed positions was an added bonus.  Since starting regular sewing and being even more closely involved due to JM allowing me to work on many of the special requests I have become a quite 'addicted' supporter.

The opportunity to visit Richmond RAAF base was a special bonus that I did not want to miss even though travel is not something I take on due to health issues.  The day proved to be everything I had hoped for . . . . . . and then some.

We were shown such courtesy and respect by every member of every unit and every one of those people was delighted to give us an insight into their Unit, the equipment and their abilities.   I came away from the visit with a greater insight into many facets of unit support behind the scenes of the obvious and visible expectations of R.A.A.F.  I also came away with an even greater respect for each and every young man and young woman who serve us and our country. 
More importantly, I came away with an even greater commitment to sewing for all these lovely and very special young people.
It was also very special to meet a recipient of one of my efforts.

Could you please pass my thanks, and those of my sister-in-law, to each and every member we came in contact with. You have given me a 'face' and a feeling of 'contact' with every serviceman and woman I have sewn for and will continue to sew for.  

Thankyou again so much - the day was AWESOME.
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What an amazing day I felt privileged to be allowed into the inner sanctum so to speak.

It did not matter who you asked a question of the reply was answered with pride and enthusiasm.

Jackie is to be commended for a job well done.

The days highlight for me was entering the Hercules and sitting in the cockpit - what a job these guys do. The second was receiving the care package.

And to hear first hand what a difference the laundry bag or quilt makes nearly made my eyes leak and that does not happen often.   In fact in happened twice today the other time was when JM was presented with the certificates .

It was also really good to meet the other sewers although I cannot remember their names.

Thank you again for a wonderful day
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One of the things which impressed me was that everywhere we went, we had service men & women come out to meet and greet us.  It wasn't just a guide taking us here an there, the troops were involved as well, and it really was lovely to chat to a few of them.  And everywhere we went we heard how much our quilts and laundry bags were appreciated.  I did know that, but somehow Wednesday really reinforced just how much it meant to someone on deployment to receive a box from Aussie Heroes.  I love my craft and get an enormous amount of pleasure from making lovely things.  It makes me feel quite humble to realise just how much difference something I have enjoyed creating makes to someone else's life.
Never having had any exposure to anyone in any arm of the forces, the day also gave me a much greater appreciation of the life of a serviceman.  One thing that shone through is just how much they enjoy doing what they do.  The Fireman I spoke to was carrying on a family tradition, with both his grandfathers, and his father being firemen; he just chose to be a fireman in the forces.  His face just sparkled when he spoke of his work.  When I asked if he had received a quilt from us, his grin got even wider and his answer was "Oh yes.  I love it!  It's in the back of my car right now, and goes everywhere with me."
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I was so excited the day before and by the end of THE Day I was exhausted.

The day started out with excitement and expectation, then feeling proud to see my quilt on the wall and to have a photo with the recipient. Confusion when he said he didn't know what theme he had asked for, so I had to tell him. Pleasure at seeing his excitement when his quilt  became a talking point. 
Later on I was surprised when I turned around and saw all those people were standing behind us. Awe when the commendation was presented from Air Commodore McDonald.  Proud (for all of us) when I was  looking at JM receiving it and the other awards. Interested to watch the interaction of the troops with our group through out the day. Grateful... for the cuppa at the end of the day.  Honoured while clapping the troops arriving at the terminal.  Happy and gleeful when they clapped us as we left. Relaxed after a glass of wine at the cafe and finally so grateful to be chauffeured home by Rob and Joan.
What a Day it was, it was really such a day.






Thanks to all the ladies who shared how our day at RAAF Richmond affected them and also to Rachel and Bennie for the photos of the goodie bag. My teddy, now called Boggy, as that is what I was when I posted in to RAAF Richmond 32 years ago, now sits on a shelf overlookng my sewing machine to remind me of a special day.  

Till next time.......................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  
Jan-Maree

4 comments:

  1. Every one expressed exactly what I felt. thank you Richmond for a very special day which will be with me for many a long year and will spur me in when I sew.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every one expressed exactly what I felt. thank you Richmond for a very special day which will be with me for many a long year and will spur me in when I sew.

    ReplyDelete