Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Grati-Tuesday

It is rather special when quilts we have sent off some time ago pop up again.  

When I started Aussie Heroes we sent off a first batch of 25 quilts to one Warrant Officer from Mentoring Task Force 4 in Tarin Kot.  He gave 15 of the quilts to his team and then also gave the remaining ten to people he thought would appreciate them.   Not long after this first lot of 25 quilts was sent over we sent over another batch of more girly quilts.   

In January I had a message from a woman requesting a quilt for her husband.  In the course of our Facebook chat she mentioned that she had received a quilt herself.  As I always do, I asked her for a photo of her quilt so that I could try and identify the quilter and let them know how much their quilt still meant to the recipient.  She not only sent me a photo but also explained a little more about how much her quilt meant to her.  I was truly humbled how she talked about her quilt and in the end I asked the recipient if she would be kind enough to write something in her own words that I could share.... 

Over to her.....

In 2012 I deployed to the Middle East for 6mths. I left behind my 3 babies in the care of my Mum (now passed) and my new partner and his three children. I had been away for just over a month and was missing home really bad. A bunch of care packages arrived and one was put on my desk. Among a bunch of creature comforts within the box was a quilt and a Landry Bag from Aussie Hero Quilts. I used the laundry bag everyday and the quilt was perfect on my bed. I felt humbled to know that people at home whom I would never meet, or even know their names, had taken the time to make these things for us. During my deployment there were highs, I got engaged during a dream holiday to Ireland, made life long friends, learnt about a lot about myself, and got to experience things I would never had the opportunity to if I was not deployed. I felt helpless, humbled and proud as we supported the kiwis in their losses and grieved our own too many times. I experienced family loss and boundless happiness while being away. Today I still have my quilt, and while it might sound strange, it holds all of those things for me, the memories, good times and not so good. Many quilts were requested while I was away, special orders, a quilt for a turtle, peace offerings from digger to sailor, sailor to Airman/woman, OR (other rank)  to Officer, wife to hubby and vice versa, It's an amazing thing you all do for little or no recognition, but I can assure you that EVERY recipient was grateful, humbled and proud to receive their parcel. So this post came about because my soul mate, now husband, and father to our first child, no 7 in the family total, is now deployed for the next 8 months, so I looked up the Aussie Hero Quilts to send him a little reminder of home. Thank you all for what you do.


I am very grateful to the recipient for taking the time to share this and I am so pleased I can share it with you.

We have received some other lovely messages today - Enjoy.
.....


Hi  Caroline,

I am currently deployed overseas as part of my duties with the Royal Australian Air Force and I would just like to pass on my thanks for the laundry bag you and your mum made. We received a box full and people would come in and spend a few fun filled minutes going through them to find one that suited them. For me, I chose a black one with red chicken wings and drumsticks, it was love at first sight!

This is my third deployment and the participation of the Australian public has risen significantly in the last four years. It really makes a difference to us over here to know that those back home are thinking of us, and the laundry bags and quilts you provide make things more colourful, and make being away from home and loved ones just that little bit easier.

We are over in the United Arab Emirates as a part of the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It is a contribution that I feel is extremely important and it feels great to be a part of it to help ensure the safety of our current and future world population not only overseas but within Australia

Rest assured that we are rather safe where we are. We are working on quite a busy base with a lot of personnel around from many different walks of life which can be entertaining. We are living in tents although it isn’t as bad as it sounds as they are segregated with curtains and are air-conditioned. It is a small space but it is our own.

We have several facilities available to us during our downtime which include some common areas to relax and catch up with people.  There is a cinema though I don’t think it is quite like those back home and we even have access to a pool. The meals that are provided are also certainly nothing to complain about; in fact I think it would be easy for me to put on several kilos if I wasn’t careful. All in all, the only thing we really have to worry about is the separation from family and loved ones back at home.

Again, thank you for the lovely laundry bags and know that they are very much appreciated. I hope this letter finds you well.

Kindest regards,
 ....


Dear Julie,

I recently received a laundry bag from you, I wish to pass on my deepest and most sincere thank you, it was an amazing present to receive, it has come in use already. 


The design, the colours and the effort you put in is amazing.  Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to make something like this.  Everybody I have spoken to who has received a gift like this loves it.  I see them in the laundry when ever I am doing my washing.  It is great to know that strangers back home are thinking about us over here. 


I was going to send you a personal hand written letter, but the snail mail over here seems to run a lot slower than back home. 



Once again, thank you so much for the wonderful present, it will have many more uses in the years to come.

Regards,



....



Dear Laura,

Thank you for your most thoughtful gift. Having a long stretch deployment ahead of me it is wonderful to be reminded that people back home appreciate what we are doing. It actually took a cold turn the day your quilt arrived so it was put to good use straight away. 

Many thanks, 



.....


Dear Irene,

Thank you so much for your wonderful efforts in making such a fantastic quilt and
laundry bag for me. Your obvious skill and creativity have shone through and I am
feeling extremely grateful and humble that you would go to such efforts for a
stranger.

I did receive your quilt just prior to Christmas and was very excited to open your
package and read your letter. The quilt has really brightened up my room as you can
see in the pictures enclosed. Many of the other members in my accommodation block
have also received an Aussie Hero Quilt and everyone has been extremely impressed
and grateful as they have shown off their individual patterns, colours and designs. As
I had already experienced other members receiving their quilts and laundry bags, I was
very, very exited to open mine and show everyone. I loved your design as well as your
colour choices and was very impressed (as was everyone else) with your creativity in
stitching the two sides of the quilt together with the great design.

Thank you so much!  Everything you have done has helped make my time here so far feel a bit more like home. Again I feel so humble and thankful for your hard work.

..... 

Jo,
Thank you for my blanket, it is great and exactly what I had in mind.

As you can imagine it is a lot colder out here and the quilt really helps at night to keep me warm, it is to be -7 tonight so will wrap up warm.

Sorry for the delay in writing back, days swim by here and you lose track of time.

I hope you had a great Christmas and have a fantastic New year.

Thank you again

Take Care
......

Bev and Geoff,

Thank you very much for the Aussie Hero Laundry Bag you send me for Christmas 2014. I thought it was wonderful and sewing my initials into it was a great touch. I was touched that strangers that I do not know would make an effort support me while I am away. I am very humbled by your thanks and feel that I am the one who should be thankful as I have been given an extraordinary opportunity to serve a brilliant country in Australia.

My contribution is small, my service is freely given and the support from home is greatly appreciated.

.....

Hello Jan-Maree,

Apologies for not writing sooner, I recently received one of your quilts in the mail that I requested from you last month. I just wanted to say a big thank you, I absolutely love it, I did ask for something bright and explosive (nothing beige) and you delivered perfectly. 

Being a child of the 80's, the theme was fantastic, everything tied in so well together. I grew up in Sydney and had friends from the Sutherland shire, so I knew the suburb where Lynn (the quilter from Engadine) lived and it brought back some fond memories (I haven't lived in Sydney since 1996). 

I did enjoy your letter and being the son of a Vietnam Veteran can very much relate to how you felt. I feel that times have changed though and people seem a lot more accepting of the way the military does business, at least for me anyway.

I have a couple of weeks left till I can go home and I’m so looking forward to it, it’s been a great experience and I’ve meet some lovely people, but I’m ready to hand over to someone else.

Thanks once again for the quilt, you are doing an amazing job and I know that people here on deployment really appreciate the work and effort that you and your talented supporters put in.

.....

Hello Joan and Robin,
                                         Thank you very much for my laundry bag, it has been wonderfully useful and it definitely does brighten up my room. 

I am a Communications Electronics Technician with the RAAF currently deployed on Operation OKRA. My job is to ensure that every member of our Operation has access to effective communication mediums. These include radios, computers, telephones and satellites.

Specifically I am responsible for the setup of our computer networks. I am 28 years old and married with a two year old boy.

Please pass on my gratitude to the other members of your group

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

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