Monday, 5 January 2015

Gratitude Post

Hi all
Well it hasn't actually been the quiet relaxing Christmas break I was hoping for but such is life.  I am enjoying a mini break though which will end with a three night cruise that departs Sydney on the 22nd of January.  I have decided to keep the blog at three posts a week till after the cruise to make like a little more relaxing for a little longer.  I am sure you are all too busy to worry anyway.  

It has been a little longer than normal since I shared some of the lovely messages we have received so here you go - some really lovely ones included too.

First up needs a little explanation. Evelyn always names her quilts.  Not too long ago she sent one off called  "Boots and All" is the name of the quilt!  LOL  It is too long and involved to explain why the quilt is named as it is but it was to do with some hilarious mistakes made during its construction.
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G'day Evelyn,
I was lucky enough to receive your wonderful package, "Boots and All". They have both been very useful to me over here. Your story of how "Boots and All" came together was quite funny, so I shared it with the boys. 

I do apologise for the delay in my response, we have been quite busy over here. Not only with the missions at hand, but also moving bases entirely and setting up from scratch, working six or seven days a week, twelve hours a day also.

It has been wonderful for all of us here who have received quilts and laundry bags from AHQ, and it certainly brightens the day of all the troops.

Fortunately for my crew here in the Middle East, who have been here now for 4 months, our tour is almost over and we return for home within the next few weeks.

If my computer skills have served me well, I have included a few pictures of myself with Boots and All in front of our 33 Squadron banner.

On behalf of all of us serving, please accept our heart felt thanks and appreciation for what you all do to support us and make us feel appreciated,


Kindest regards, and Merry Christmas,




......

We also received this photo of a group of quilt recipients. Love the smiles.




Hello Peggy,
I just recently received a beautiful quilt from yourself just before Christmas and I just wanted to email to say a very big thank you for your kindness and efforts. Your letter was enjoyable to read and your quilt has become a welcome part of my room entering the colder months here.
I have been in Kabul for over 7 months now and have a little longer left. I am working as part of a coalition mentoring force responsible for mentoring ANA Officers at their very young Afghan National Army Officer Academy. It has been increasingly challenging but I have enjoyed it and hope we have made a difference.
Anyway thank you again for thinking of us and sending us such wonderful care packages.
Regards,
.....


Dear Tracie,



Thank you for the amazing quilt and laundry bag. The package arrived just in time for Christmas, which was a nice present and has also helped colour up our cabin a bit. The quilt is indeed a work of art, and the effect in the dark is fantastic, but as you said does it not keep me awake at night.


The variety of quilts provided have been greatly enjoyed by all involved, and I thank you for your effort and craftsmanship and that of your team. It is great to see an organisation which provides such items that can be cherished by members throughout their careers.

Additionally, thank you for the service of yourself and your family, the defence family extends far and wide.

Once again, thank you for the quilt, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

.....


Merry Christmas Jan-Maree,

Please find enclosed a picture of the quilt that you ladies have sent over. It arrived yesterday so I thought it would make a great Chrissie Photo.

This is my third tour in the Middle East with the RAAF. The first was to Iraq the second to Afghanistan and then this one. But the first away from Christmas from my wife and kids. I have just rung my wife and it is mayhem at home, the little ones are racing around like nutters trying to wake the big boys up. We have 10 kids, 8 at home.

Anyway, enough about me, I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from myself and all of us over here.  We appreciate all that you and your ladies do for us and it really gives everyone a  buzz that someone is thinking of us. Please enjoy a tipple or two for us and I will try and get some more photos of the other quilt receivers over here.



Every now and then I get to meet a recipient and this is one of the special ones.  Of course I can't tell you his name but you can probably guess from his laundry bag that he is a PHOT or photographer.  These guys and girls travel incessantly. In fact, I don't think many people realise just how far and wide and constantly these guys travel.  Whether they be Army, Navy or Air Force, or from the Joint Public Affairs Unit, they are constantly out and about, both here in Australia and overseas.  Pretty much where ever we have troops, there will be a PHOT for at least part of the time. I have known of this one since early 2012 but only had to chance to meet him on Canberra last time I was there last year. He is not deployed at the moment but will in the future and so it was an absolute no brainer to send him his own laundry bag.  And he has outdone all the other male PHOTS (there is a challenge) and has actually sent me a photo of himself with hit!  The first male PHOT to do so! Bravo to him!


And this handsome fellow received a quilt from Rita M.  He has a thank you on the way to you via mail but he sent me this photo via Facebook to share.  He told me that he was thrilled with his quilt.   He has actually become a good mate of mind and I know he won't mind me telling you that it means a great deal to him that celtic designs that remind him of his Irish heritage are on  his quilt and even the colours have special meaning for him that Rita had no way of knowing at the time she made it.

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For Katherine



Thank you to Aussie Hero Quilters, I would like to say how impressed I am with my recently received quilt and Laundry bag (I'm using it as a Pillow case) that Katherine has made for me. The South Sydney Rabbitohs and leaping black Bunny on the Red and Green Background is stunning and the time taken to complete this quality item must have been considerable. I love it. My Canterbury Bulldogs Supporting room mate is very envious and is waiting for his to arrive ! I also received a lovely letter that really made my day. As you can imagine at this time of year when everybody has their family and friends around we feel a little bit left out these gestures of kindness from home do make a difference. Have a wonderful Christmas  to you all.



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Hello Jan Maree, 
I received my quilt. What a wonderful surprise, it was fantastic. In fact, everyone loves it. I was taken a back by just how wonderful it was. I was so happy.
Can I take this opportunity to thank you and the team so much. 

An excellent start to my Xmas. 

Regards 
......


Dear Michelle (and family),

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lovely quilt that I received at our first port visit! It is just amazing and has found pride of place on my bed (or "rack" as one is described in the Navy).

Deploying away at this time of year is hard and having something come from home (I also got a care package from my mother and a friend) makes it just that little bit easier. 




I became a Cats fan more by accident than anything else, I had no real link to them until I dated a girl who's family were mad Geelong fans and my enjoyment of AFL became focused on supporting them. Living in Sydney there isn't the same affinity for the Swans as there are from the fans of any of the Victorian clubs. 




More than receiving a quilt it is great to know that people at home support the mission out here and our troops generally. It's a wonderful job, which I love doing, but it can be trying, especially to be away for so much of the year. Thank you again for taking the time to make a quilt that I will treasure. All the members of the sickbay have asked for quilts and 4 out of 5 of us got them when the mail arrived. It was quite exciting. Once all 5 of us have ours we'll send some photos. 

Best wishes and Merry Christmas

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Good Morning Donna, 

I just wanted to drop you a short note to say 'Thank you' for the Hero Quilt that you so kindly made and sent over to me. 

I have no idea how I ended up on your mailing list, but I am so glad that as fate would have it I did! I am completely blown away that someone I have never met would take time out of their busy life to make something as beautiful as you did for me. It was so heartwarming and both I and my colleagues all said it reaffirmed our appreciation of home and how we really are so lucky that some people back there would go out of their way to make other people happy!

I just love the colours and you were right, it is getting cold over here and it is on my bed and keeping me warm every night now (I do switch it over each day so that I can have a little change in my otherwise completely regular routine!) and have had so many comments about it and really brightens up my room (and my day every time I look at it!!)
Thank you so much again, you really did make my day - and bring me a feeling of joy every time I see that lovely quilt!!!!
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Dear Rosemary,
Many thanks for the laundry bag and for the kind words of support. The beanie will certainly come in handy as it is winter here and the weather is definitely colder than what I am used too!
It is such a kind thing for you to do, sending gifts to someone who you have never met.  I am humbled by your kindness and generosity and take comfort in the knowledge that people back home are thinking of us!

This is the fifth time that I have deployed on operations. I have served in East Timor, Solomon Islands, Iraq and this is my second tour of Afghanistan.  I am married but have no children, unless you count my three dogs!

Your kind thoughts and gifts make being away from my family over the Christmas period much easier!  Once again, thank you very much for the gifts. I hope that you realise how appreciative we are of these things, but even more so of the support from home. 
I hope that you have a very merry festive season with your loved ones!
Regards

.....

for a beautiful quilt made by Rhonda W


Hello Jan-Maree,



Thank you for the wonderful blanket, it is beautiful!! I love the colours and the patterns. Every time I look at it I am reminded of my favourite hobby (diving). Everyone loves receiving their beautiful quilts, and it is such a morale boost to receive an individual and quality blanket.


I hope you have a lovely Christmas and new year!

Thank you,


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Hello Irene
I am writing to say a massive thank you for the lovely blanket you made for me. I really appreciate it. So we have been out here some months now and a few more to push then we will be home. Out here in Camp Qargha Kabul has been ok, not too busy which is good, but certainly enough to keep up steady.

There are other nationalities here in the camp too, French, Danish, GBR and USA so learning and seeing how they operate is interesting.  We mainly work alongside the British. Once again thank you Irene for all that you do.

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Jackie,



     I just received your quilt with my thanks. It's great and very timely as the nights here are getting rather cool these days and this will be very handy to have for the next couple of months.      The others that I work with also thought that the quilt was well crafted and even asked if I still wanted it!!      Unfortunately I wasn't able to get back home for Christmas and spent my very first Christmas away from my family. It was a bit of a difficult time, however I was working and didn't have much time to really think about it. We're going to make up for it when I return in the New Year.      I absolutely appreciate the fact that you have taken time out of your own day to create such a wonderful gift for myself and for the other serving members.      Thank you very much. This is definitely something of a keep sake from my time deployed that I will have with me for some time to come. Hope you have a great 2015 and beyond!!! 


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Dear Alicia, 



I received your Aussie Hero Quilts gift a few days before Christmas! Thank you so much for the beautiful laundry bag, the WRANS tea towel is amazing, and I especially loved that you put my initials on the bag. The biggest suprise that left me speechless was the knitted beanie. You couldn't have made it more perfect. It has already come into good use as it is winter up here at the moment and although the days are stinking hot, the nights are freezing.


The bags of lollies have already been demolished between myself and a few friends during our Christmas Day festivities at sea. This was my first Christmas away from friends and family, which made it especially hard, and I would be lying if I didn't have a few moments feeling sad. However my "Success family" did their very best to make it feel like a regular Christmas for everyone. We had a midnight mass under the stars, Santa handed out gift boxes donated from the RSL to each and every person onboard (a series of unfortunate events meant our personal mail from family didn't make it in time) and we had the annual Commanding Officers XI versus Executive Officers XI cricket match on the flight deck. Dinner was a huge feast of every meat under the sun, and all the seafood you could ever imagine.

My job onboard involves safely navigating the ship and taking charge of the "watch on deck" team on the bridge. The Watch on Deck team fill roles such as lookouts and helmsman, they are a great bunch of guys that continuously make me laugh. 

Thanks again for the beautiful gifts, it has definitely made my Christmas feel a little like home. 

Regards, 
.....



Jan-Maree

Thanking you for your heart felt and caring message.  It is great to know that there are people at home who appreciate what we are doing so far away from home. Thank your quilters as they are doing an absolutely grand job with the quilts and laundry bags. As one that has received theirs I can say that it is great to receive something from home made with so much care and love. Margaret C was my quilter and she has done a brilliant job and I'm sure all the others would agree that all of them are marvelous. 


Once again thank you and your quilters for their support.


Have a Merry Christmas and a Great New Year to you and all the quilters.



Thanking you


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Debbie

Many Many thanks for the wonderful quilt.  The laundry bag is excellent, almost just want to just hang it up and not use it.  I can't really talk to much about what happens here or doesn't happen so ill just talk about the whether.
Its almost perfect - about 10 degrees of a night and about 26 -30 during the day.  Having said that when we first arrived it was 50 plus where we work during the day.  Bit hard to take for the first couple of weeks but the heat was very dry.  I'm sure you can relate to the heat living near  Roma.  Australia is such a vast and hard climate, especially in the outback which a lot of city people don't appreciate.    The Collingwood colours on the inside, I like this idea.  It hides them when they're going bad which is too often and I can turn inside out if they're not.
Thankyou again for your effort and thinking us who serve.

You have an interesting family and by the sounds of it very hard workers.

regards

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Hello Barbara,
Thank you so much for the quilt, and laundry bag, and beanie, and Tim tams, and most of all the letter.  I can tell you have put so much time and effort in and it really means a lot.

This is my first big deployment and the first time I have been away from family for Christmas which is kind of scary. And as you can imagine it can get a little tough to handle sometimes being so far away and having such little contact. So receiving a beautiful bunch of handmade gifts is very touching and I really appreciate it

Thank you for such a beautiful bunch of gifts, I love them all and look forward to hearing from you xx 

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Hello Catherine,

I just recently received a beautiful laundry bad from yourself just before Christmas and I just wanted to email to say a very big thank you for your kindness and efforts. Your card was enjoyable to read and your laundry bag has become a welcome accessory of my room, definitely brightening up the place a bit.

Anyway thank you again for thinking of us and sending us such wonderful care packages.

Regards,
.....


Dear Sue

Thought I'd send this quick pic and a HUGE thankyou. I am absolutely over the  moon and so happy with my quilt. Its detail is supurb ive owned a bsa and have an old norton in my shed. I love the new triumphs and have an old austin healey stuffed somewhere in le man shed also. cant wait to show my daughter. She loves all things crafty. 

So so happy. Your a star. Thanks again





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Jan-Maree,



Just a short message to say I hope your many quilters have had a great Christmas, and can look forward to a happy New Year. Please keep up the outstanding work that your organisation is doing for deployed ADF personnel. 


Your laundry bags and quilts always come up in conversation around the camps. The designs, colours and subjects on the items always bring a smile to the recipient's face and will hold pride of place as a long term reminder of their oversea service and the support we receive from everyday Australians.

Again thank you.
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Dear Cath,

Firstly, please allow me to introduce myself.  I am currently deployed to Afghanistan as an Australian soldier.

Words cannot express my thanks for the kind gifts that you sent me for Christmas. Of particular importance to me was your beautiful laundry bag. The reason this gift touched me so much was that during my current deployment my mother passed away after a battle with cancer. She was an avid quilter and would of loved and appreciated your work. I am not ashamed to admit that your gift bought a tear to my eye (in a good way ), as it reminded me of my mum at her favourite time of year.

I hope that Mick and the remainder of your family appreciates what a wonderful person they have in their lives. Your actions are just a reminder to me that there are good people in this world who still care for other. If I can pass this trait onto my children I will be a very happy father.

I truly hope that you and your family had a great Christmas and enjoy your New Year celebrations.

Again, thank you for your outstanding support of deployed Australian soldiers. The gifts that people like yourself send are appreciated behind measure.


Kindest Regards
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G'day Joan and Robin.



Thank you Very much for the your efforts in brighten up our days with your now famous Laundry bags.


I have just become one of the proud recipients of this wonderful product. A lovely lime green with vertical candy stripse, looks delicious.

It is so good that I don't want to put any of my dirty laundries in it as I might ruin it.

Thank you for your kind wishes.

keep up the good work

Many thanks.

Happy New Year
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Dear Maree, Nick, Rebecca and Matt,

Thank you ever so much for your wonderful laundry bag, Christmas gifts and well wishes. I cannot over emphasis how uplifting the package was to receive over the Christmas period. Especially to have the Australian colors so proudly displayed. I sure won’t lose my washing now. In fact, I have the bag visible when I enter my rather dour cabin to brighten it up somewhat.

Also thank you for sharing about your family as it’s nice to know more about the special people who support us deployed ADF members through AHQ. 

By introduction I am currently deployed at Kandahar in Afghanistan. Apologies this letter is rather impersonal being typed but it’s easier for me as I can type whilst working.

I have 5 children who are quite spread out in age but my youngest two are 6 and 11. I miss my kids very much as you can imagine but take pride and feel privileged to represent Australia.  

You might be thinking what a navy guy is doing in a land locked nation such as Afghanistan. I’m an aviator by trade and am involved in an Operations type role with helicopters. The majority of ADF personnel here in Kandahar are Army, involved in mentoring their Afghan peers.

Afghanistan is like no other country I have ever seen. The mountains between Kandahar and Kabul are jagged with deep valleys and sheer walls. Difficult to explain, the landscape is desolate and without vegetation or habitation of any kind. Near to Kandahar there are sandy deserts, and flat sand plains 

Once again thank you so much Maree for making my laundry bag and your kind words. I wish you and your family a safe and blessed 2015.


Thank you again
.....

For Julie Ann


     This note is to thank you very much for the lovely laundry bag you sent me whilst I am deployed, it is far too nice to use for a laundry bag but I know that I will always treasure it.
    Like everyone else that deployed here and has received a laundry bag, we are all very touched by the time, effort and thought that yourself and the other ladies of AHQ put into your work. 

    It is wonderful to be reminded that the work that we are doing is valued by those at home.



    I wish you and your family all the best for the future and hope that with your new grandson you can still find time for quilting.

    Thanks again,

.....


And four more for Julie Ann



    Thank you for my awesome quilt and laundry bag. This is my 8th deployment and I have never received anything quite like your gift. It is  so humbling to know there are people like you who     give up your time and money to think of others in such a unique and personal way.
    Thank you again so much. It has brightened my room and deployment.

    .....



    Thank you on behalf of all soldiers in Afghanistan for your amazing contribution to our mission.

    A gift from home is so special, and even more so when it comes as a complete surprise! 

    We don't expect anything, but believe me when I write that you really have made a big difference. Our bedroom is a flush of colour with everyone's laundry bags and quilts.


    I have been in the Army for 12 years now and have never experienced such kindness from a stranger.



     I hope you enjoy Christmas with your family. I will be home in a couple of months.

    Thanks again so much.

    .....



    Thank you for my quilt and laundry bag. You brought Liverpool to Afghanistan!

    I have just had a son while I have been deployed and cannot wait to put the quilt in his crib when I meet him in a couple of months. He has no choice but to become a fan!

    I hope you enjoy Christmas with your family.
    Kindest regards,



     .....


    Thank you so much for my Liverpool Gifts! They are amazing.

     I haven't been able to keep up with the football over here, but am hoping to get some time off

    when I get home and head over to the UK to watch some matches.
    Thank you again.
    Merry Christmas!



    .....

Dear Rita M 


I received my laundry bag and quilt.  They have made my Christmas.  I absolutely love what you have done with my quilt with the themes of snow and surf and my Laundry bag is beautiful.



Thank you so very very much.


Yours
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G'day Peggy
You sent an awesome quilt to me for Christmas!!
I just wanted to say thanks and it means a lot, I don't get any post so it was quite a surprise;) it's absolutely freezing here at the moment so it's keeping me warm at night, I'm taking it home with me too, can always use a good quilt.
I got it right on Christmas eve so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Sorry about emailing, but I figured a letter would probably reach you in a couple of months or not at all.
I'll be home in under a month now and cannot wait. I have a 3 year old girl
and an awesome wife waiting for me. We are hoping to add to our little family when I get home.  

Anyway just wanted to say thanks heaps. Take care.

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And finally - when I visited a past recipient in the Navy last week I also had the chance to meet up with and chat to the Chaplain from HMAS Toowoomba.  He presented me with a frame copy of this terrific photo! If you recognise your quilt and would like a copy let me know.


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

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