Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Grati-Tuesday 23 June


Hi all.

Some really gorgeous messages received this week.  Sit back and enjoy them and be reminded why we do what we do.  :-D

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This quilt was made by Ann V and quilted by Belinda.  We received a thank you message them but this recipient has been in touch with me on a different matter and sent this.....

I deployed in 2013 and on arrival we were introduced to Aussie Hero Quilts. I had deployed previously, prior to the creation of AHQ, so this was my first exposure to it. The previous group raved about the quilts they received. So I sent through my request but wasn’t really sure what to expect. A few weeks later a package arrived and I didn’t recognise the sender. When I opened it I found a quilt, Tim Tams and a letter from the quilter. It was humbling to receive something so special from someone I did’t know. It made me realise that we are remembered back home!

Our rooms, due to the furniture and linen, were white or grey in colour.  At the time the only splash of colour were any photos hung up. From then until the end of the deployment, whenever I entered my room I couldn’t help but smile. The quilt lit up my room and made me happy.

On return to home my son quickly claimed it as his own. He uses it whenever he sits on the couch and wants a covering. Now I have another son, they enjoy getting under it together on Saturday mornings and watching cartoons. I don’t get a look in to it now! Thank you to all the quilters out there. We may not always put it in words or know how to thank you…but what you do for morale is amazing and always remembered! 


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Dear Julie-Ann
I would like to extend a huge thank you to you for the beautiful laundry bag that you so kindly made for me.  Opening the parcel absolutely made my day, and I love the bunny material that you used!

My mum is an avid quilter, and she has taught me some of her sewing skills. So far I have managed to make one (fairly basic) block quilt, and a few smaller cot sized ones for friends that have had babies. All the sewing has been under the heavy tutelage of my mum! So I fully understand the time and dedication it takes to make the quilts and laundry bags. The work that Aussie Hero Quilts does is just amazing. The generosity and kindness in all of your hearts leaves me completely lost for words. Please accept my utmost thanks, not just for my individual bag, but for all of the ones you have made and the contribution you make to our serving men and women in the Defence Force.


As for a little about me, I joined the Navy when I was fresh out of school at just 18 years old. Almost 17 years later, I am the Executive Officer (Second in Command) of an amazing Ship’s Company. My career, as with everything in life, has had its ups and downs, but on the whole I love my job, and I am very proud to serve my country. This is my fourth tour to the Middle East for an operational deployment, with my first being only a few months after the Twin Towers in Sep 2011 as a very junior Midshipman. It has been interesting seeing how our role up here has changed over the last decade or so.


When I get some spare time on the ship I enjoy keeping fit and reading – and I will read anything from romance fiction, to books on nutrition, to historical accounts! And when I’m not on the ship I love doing jigsaw puzzles with my sister and sewing with my mum. I come from a very close family and I love nothing more than having us all under the same roof. We grew up in Victoria, but my parents have since retired to Tasmania and one of my sisters also lives down there with her husband. My other sister lives in Newcastle, so it’s nice having her close when I’m at home in Sydney. And all of us absolutely love going to Spotlight for a shopping trip! Well, not Dad so much, but he is very patient waiting in the car for us.

Thank you again Julie-Ann for everything that you do for us. It is really most appreciated.

My warmest wishes to you and your husband.
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Hi Carol L


I just received the beautiful quilt and wash bag you made for me, and have to say that I am completely over the moon about both items. As soon as I opened I ran around the Squadron to show everybody and all were amazed at how great it looks and how beautiful the art work. I particularly love the "XXXXX Band" motif on the quilt. Funnily enough, I have formed a band over here with some of the other guys from the Squadron and your quilt would make a perfect backdrop for the band. We are playing a show this Friday for the US Army and may use your quilt as a back drop when we play. Do you do all of the painting yourself? If so, I have to say you are very talented - also wished I could paint like that, but have to admit I am a professional appreciator when it comes to art!

I have a large band room and rehearsal space back in my home in Brisbane and am already planning to hang it in that room as it will be perfect for the room in amongst my instruments and CD collection and other artwork that I have in there. I note you say you still have a few Led Zeppelin albums laying around - Cream and Led Zeppelin are two of my favourite bands and we cover songs from both bands in my band - I love playing Sunshine of Your Love, have already loved that song. I also have guitars back home with replica artwork on them the same as the one used by Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page in the late 1960's. Your quilt will go with these guitars perfectly.

Things are going great over here. We work long and irregular hours but people like yourself make it all worthwhile - to know that we are supported in trying to keep the world safe and free. The biggest challenge I have over here is being away from my family. I have a partner and three children under four left behind and I think of them constantly. My partner is also in the Air Force as a Medical Officer (Doctor) and my kids are keeping her busy whilst she tries to work and juggle family life while I am over here. When I get home, we will tag team and she will deploy to the Middle East as a Doctor and I will head home and look after the kids. It's not easy, but we both do it because we love it and want to keep the Australia the free beautiful country that it is. This is my fourth time to the Middle East and have also been to East Timor previously on Operations.  The military is in the family. My Grandfather served for three years in Europe and Africa during World War II as an Anti-tank gunner and my dad was an infantry soldier in Vietnam with two tours, so I guess you could say it is in the blood and a source of pride for the family - but certainly does make family life challenging.

The weather where you are sounds so much nicer than the weather here. we are in the middle of Summer in one of the hottest countries in the world. Temperatures at getting up around 50 degrees with high humidity. Some days it is so hot some of our jets can't take off as the fuel in the tanks is too hot.... just amazing. I have never experienced temperatures this hot in Australia, and I have lived in both Darwin and Townsville.

So thank you very much for all of the time and energy you invested to make the bag and quilt for me. Please rest assured that they will be used, looked after and cherished while I am here in the Middle East and also when I return home. 

Thanks again - hope you enjoy the pictures. 

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Hi Noeleen,


Just a little note to let you know that the other two boxes of laundry bags arrived late last week - many thanks. Most of the bags have been snatched up by some new people to theatre, as well as those travelling through. As always, they are well received and much appreciated so thanks again.

I hope you're having a good week so far.
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Dear Heather,



I write to thank you for the fabulous laundry bag you made for me. It's fantastic. I love the colours, that it is personalised, and appreciate the time you have put into this. I also feel privileged to receive your first laundry bag. The magazines are great too. I'm going to try and save them for the long journey home later in August. 

I have been deployed for just on five months and feel proud to have represented Australia on operations overseas. Whilst the time has gone very fast to date I'm looking forward to completing my deployment and returning to my family in Tasmania. 

Thanks again for your kind gesture - it put a smile on my face and made my day
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Jan-Maree,

Thanks for your email.  It got me looking for the quilt and I found four parcels waiting for me which had mistakenly been redirected to another base.  So thankfully I now have the quilt and it is excellent (my other packages were just lollies). The birds and the rising sun are really well done, as is the whole design.
I've attached a photo of the quilt with my work car. 


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Hello Michele,

Jan-Maree has indicated that you were one of the ladies (along with Debbie) who did such a beautiful job in creating my Aussie Hero Quilt. It is truly magnificent & encapsulates all that I wanted in the quilt.

It will be on the wall of my "man cave" taking pride of place which will always bring back memories of my services and deployments.

A truly awesome quilt that has been admired by all that I have shown in AMAB. You have definitely set the bar.

Kind Regards
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Hi Jackie,

I'm the Navy Electronics technician sailor whom you sent an awesome

laundry bag. First of all THANKYOU so much for the time and effort you put into the laundry bag.
I love it and will use it most days :-)

It's been a long deployment so far but you have found me well and happy. Missing my partner,
our little french bulldog Henri, my Mum and 3 little brothers back home a lot. Can't wait to see them
all again.
Thanks for your kind words,
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Sue and Caroline, thank you very much for the laundry bag that you made for me. The bag is much appreciated and vastly better than the one they issue us here in Al Minhad Air base. I have a funny feeling that when I get home in a few months my 7 year old daughter will ensure that it ends up in her room as she misses me a great deal while I have been away.


I have included a photo of me with my laundry bag, unfortunately I have had to sack the cameraman as he didn't take great shot of me.

Once again, thank you for the laundry bag and thank you for the work you and the other members of Aussie Hero Quilts do for us all. 


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I also received these photos of this fellow with his quilt and with his team and their quilts. 



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Hi Marg C,

I received the quilt you sent me, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I can't tell you how much I love it! I am so appreciative of the thought, time, and effort that you put into making it, and receiving it in the post really made my day.

I've been in the Army for 5 and a half years now and this is my first deployment. Because of such a wonderful and personal gift, it will be one I remember the most.

Thank you also for the treats you sent, as well as the photo of the amazing poppy display. So very fitting for the centenary of ANZAC.
Anzac Day here was pretty special too. To actually be deployed over this time is such an honour, and I won't forget it in a hurry.

I have attached a photo of the quilt on my bed. I love the colour that it adds to my room, and it makes it feel a little more like home. It has inspired me to want to learn how to sew!

Thank you so much again for your kindness :)


Warmest regards,


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Jan-Maree

Today I received a box from you and I couldn't wait to open it as I knew it contained the quilt you made for me. I opened the box and unfurled the quilt and was just astounded at how amazing it looks. The time and effort you have dedicated to make my quilt is a touch overwhelming. The quality and level of detail you have done on this "work of art" is impressive. I couldn't wait to start showing people what you had made for me and everyone who has seen it has commented how amazing it looks. It captures everything I could have wanted on a quilt. The flags look remarkable, together with the uniforms and silhouettes; you really have captured the ADF on joint operations. The aircraft on the back are a nice touch too. You should be immensely proud of the quilt you have produced. As the Command Warrant Officer of HQJTF633 I am also immensely proud of the gift you have given me and I
will treasure this quilt until I'm no longer on this earth. 

I had some photos taken within hours of receiving it and have included them. I have sent those photos to my wife and she was also impressed. This quilt is so amazing I think I am going to have to tum it in to a wall hanging, so that it can receive the full appreciation it deserves. Granted it will be a big wall hanging, but I believe it is worthy of display. Some negotiation with my wife may still be required!

My Grandmother on my Mum's side used to make quilts. She passed away the year after I joined the Air Force in 1985. My Grandmother made me a quilt when I was a young child and I still have it. It has seen better days, but it is very special to me, as it is the only thing I have that my Grandmother gave me. Before I moved to Malaysia in December 2014, I gave that quilt back to my Mother for safe keeping and she also said she would like to mend it. I will show Mum this quilt and I know she we also be very impressed.

I am so grateful to receive this gift from Aussie Hero Quilts and the founder no less. It means the world to me that you would take the time and effort to produce this masterpiece. The work that Aussie Hero Quilts does in support of ADF personnel serving our Nation on operations is highly regarded and truly appreciated by all levels of Defence.

On behalf of the Commander Joint Task Force 633, I would like to thank you and all of the volunteer quilters for the support you have provided ADF personnel since Aussie Hero Quilts was founded by you.


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Dear Kay
I just received my beautiful Aussie Hero quilt from you this morning.
I can not express my biggest thanks & gratitude for your beautiful work & gifts.
These care packages from people back at home whom I’ve never met, that put in time, effort & a lot of thought behind such beautiful creations is a true generous selfless act of kindness that brings immense joy to my heart.
I love my quilt and I will definitely be hanging this up in my home once I get back, but for now it will be a nice pop of colour in my room for the next four months.

Receiving things like your beautiful quilt you’ve made are amazing random acts of kindness from people back at home and makes us proud to serve such a Country who is home to such kind beautiful people.
Thank you again for the beautiful gift it’s a nice little touch of home in my home away from home.

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Hi Glenys,



Thank you so much for taking the time to make me a quilt and laundry bag. Using these items each day reminds me of the people back at home that I serve for.

I, like your grandson, am also a mechanic. I am what the Air Force calls a Ground Support Equipment Technician, which to put simply, is a mechanic that fixes everything that the Air Force has that doesn't fly e.g. Fire Vehicles, Forklifts, G-Wagons, Hydraulic Rigs, Generator Sets etc.
Once again thank you for the reminder of the generosity and humility of Australians such as yourself, keep up the good work, it makes me proud and it is a pleasure to serve.
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Good Afternoon Luisa,


I just received my quilt and laundry bag today.   Can I say both are absolutely stunning and I will treasure them both and the touching heartfelt sentiments that come with them. 
I was truly humbled and honoured to receive both the quilt and laundry bag. I'd like to say thank you very much and I really appreciate the beautiful workmanship, and hours of your time that has gone into making these. Unfortunately the quilt won't get any use here at present as we hitting the high 40s to mid 50s every day, however it will be wonderful at home on winter nights. The chocolate and tea will both be enjoyed very much, the pomegranate and cranberry is my favourite herbal tea so it was a wonderful choice thank you.

Kind regards and best wishes,
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Hi there Jan-Maree,

My quilt arrived a couple of days ago and it is absolutely brilliant. I love the design, both sides. It really is a going to be appreciated by my Daughter and Granddaughter. The lady who made the quilt gave her details, Jackie J from South Australia.  I thanked Jackie for everything she has done with this quilt and for my Granddaughter.

You provide something special for many people in the Armed Forces.


Thank you.
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It can be hard for me to keep track of the makers of some of the quilt tops that are sent here to be finished. At times it seems I have quilts going in all directions to be quilted and bound and coming back to me to be sent off.  This is an example of one of the fellows who received a quilt top donated and then finished off here to be sent off.

Dear Jan-Maree,
Today I received a quilt and laundry bag from you and just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you very much. The time and dedication you show in the organisation and production of these morale boosters is commendable and much appreciated across the regiment. 
I'm 34 years old, I am married and we have a daughter who is ten months old. This deployment has been particularly difficult being the first with a child. She is a gorgeous kid and gets excited every time we get to skype. I miss them both terribly but am happy in knowledge that what we are doing here ultimately makes life safer for them back home.

I'm proud to serve my country and am warmed by the knowledge that there are people back home who do not forget the sacrifices we make.
To all your donators and volunteers thank you very much for your time and effort, I cannot overstate how much it is appreciated.

Regards,
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Dear Pam Y,

Today I was delighted to receive the laundry bag you so kindly made for me.

Thank you so much, it was so nice to open a bright and colourful parcel!

I am working in Iraq, and it is an interesting post which is challenging me on a daily basis.  I'm working with a great group of people and we try to make our days go quickly so receiving a parcel is always a treat.
It sounds like you keep your days very busy despite your hand injury.  Im sure everyone loves their quilts and laundry bags you send them.

I also love the bright girly colours with love hearts on the inside- I have young boys at home so needless to say I don't have much pink in my life.  Over here everything is beige ad dusty, so its lovely to have something bright.

Once again thank you, you made my day!

Kind regards
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To Jan-Maree and the Sewers of AHQ's,

I would firstly like to thank you for the package that was sent to us and that upon reading the attached letter it made it even better knowing that the community back home are proud of us for what we are doing and what we will achieve. It is nice to know that the items were made by volunteers who took time to make such a well made quilt and with an idea that we do the things we do to safeguard Australia.

I have been in the Australian Army for 7 years and I'm currently posted to Brisbane but out here I am the RPS CPL for Workshops Company.  My job is for the ordering and issuing of repair parts for weapons, vehicles or general machinery of the Task Group in order to maintain its capability at a high standard.

So again I speak for everyone here that we are thankful for these gifts and we will all be making sure we read the blog.

Kind Regards
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Hello Jan-Maree, G’day from Bor, South Sudan,

I am currently one of two Aussie Army personnel in Bor, South Sudan. (Open the Google Map in your Internet browser, turn the satellite mode on, copy and paste 6.1935925, 31.6044500 and hit Enter, you will see where I am.)

Just received your ANZAC biccies, and of course, I have also received the laundry bag and quilt. Thank you very very much. The life isn’t too difficult here, nevertheless I miss home, my wife and our two little princesses. My wife is pregnant as well, so I guess I didn’t time this deployment (my first one) very well.

Every time I get a care package from home from people like yourself, fellow Aussies, but strangers, all the internationals whom I work with (Europeans, Africans, Asians, N and S Americans, the whole world!) get very jealous. Nearly 12 years ago, I joined the Army, looking for a short term career, a stepping stone to better things, but I am still in, and feel proud and very lucky to put on the uniform everyday, because of you and everyone back home.

Thank you again and please pass on my warm regards to everyone in your group. Take care.


Cheers,
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Hello Jacqui, g’day from Bor, South Sudan,

I am an Aussie Army person in Bor, South Sudan, working for the United Nations Mission In South Sudan.

Just received your quilt, and the Tim Tams, of course. Was very excited to open the box, to see the quilt, and then the Tim Tams fell out of the quilt! Thank you very very much.

Today, it was about 35 deg C, but your quilt will still be very handy. You see, my bed is right underneath the air con, so it does feel cold at night. And the Australian things on the quilt remind me of my family back home. Just before I left, we went to the zoo and had a great time.

Thank you again. Take care.
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Dear Val G
I'm a Medic on board HMAS Newcastle.
I am writing to thank you for the amazing quilt that I have recently received from you.
The quilt that you have spent so much care and time creating is a remarkable visual expression of my favourite colours and interests especially the sailing, surf and water themes.
It is an honour to serve our great nation and it’s great to hear from home. Once again thank you for your effort, it is very much appreciated. I am proud to serve our county and profoundly grateful for your support.
Please know that we are doing what we can to keep our beautiful country safe for everyone.
I am truly touched to know that people like yourself take the time and effort to produce such wonderful gifts for us and it is also gives me the reassurance that being away from my family and friends for such a long time is appreciated by everyone back home.
I have served in the Defence Force for nearly 15 years now and spent an enormous amount of time away and this is the first time I have  had a personal thankyou. I can not express enough what your hand made quilt means to me and be rest assured that I will treasure it and use it well.
Receiving a gift on mail day puts smile on your face as well as your ship mates, everyone loves getting parcels and it really does make everyone happy.
I would like to send you a small gift as a token of my appreciation.
Yours sincerely 
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Hi Matt D!!

I was lucky enough to receive the awesome laundry bag that you made!! Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into that! It was easily a week maker!! I don't know much about sewing but I would say your a pro!! By far the coolest laundry bag onboard that's for sure!!

I'm currently in the smack bang middle of my deployment on HMAS Newcastle warship. We are based in Potts Point Sydney, not too far from Liverpool actually. I'm a  Leading Seaman Marinetime Logistics Chef  which is really just a fancy name for Chef on board. There are 5 of us onboard and we produce 4 meals a day for 250 people. I say they eat like Kings! It gets very tiring some days but everyone gets excited when mail is received from the Aussie Hero Quilts!

Thank you once again for the amazing laundry bag.
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Earlier this year we did a Mystery Quilt.  The recipient asked for a quilt where each block was signed by the maker.


Just wanted to tell you that I have received my wonderful quilt made by your fantastic organisation, and to express my sincere thanks. Actually have had it for several weeks, so apologies for not getting to this until now. I know how much work, and thought, goes into these gifts (I suffered through my wife's friendship quilt adventure when we were posted to the US a few years back) and I, we all, think it is a wonderful, thoughtful and generous thing you folk do with the quilts and laundry bags.

We think we have it pretty good over here (compared to say Somalia back in 1993 where we didn't have a bed or fresh meal for 5 months) but you are still away from home and family for 10 months and little touches like the generous gifts Aussie Hero Quilts sends is a touching way of reminding us all that our service is valued by someone.

It's pretty hot here now in Kandahar (Kandahot) and topped at 50.8 o C yesterday and we are into  the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, during which time the devout Muslim do not eat, drink etc during daylight hours.  We try to respect this by not doing so in front of them, which is also hard when it's so hot.  That makes our little bed somewhat of a sanctuary when we return to it, and the personalised quilt makes it home. It will also be treasured by my family when I get home.

My own tour has been a strange one.  I spent winter in Kabul (-10 o C) and now summer in Kandahar (+50 o C), and have travelled a lot around Afghanistan in between.  Things are much better than they were last time I was over here (2009/10) but sadly there is still lots of violence occurring across the country.  The locals are immeasurably better positioned to handle it now, which they are doing this 'fighting season' virtually on their own.  We are in the role of advisers now and at Corps level (like Division level back home),  so are not in a direct combat role and spend most of our time at the HQ with our counterparts.  I am with 120 or so Australians in Kandahar. Great bunch of young men and women who work hard and are genuinely under credible threat a lot, but just get on with it.  They all appreciate what you guys do too.

Anyway, just wanted to say a sincere thank you to you and the ladies (presuming that most guys don't have the patience or skills for this sort of work :-) ).  If you could please pass my thanks to the lovely: Gail, Robin A, Karen B, Rita C, Dasha, Rachael B, Leanne Mc, Lynn, Stephanie T, Kim M, Evelyn, Sue M, Caroline, Margaret C and Carol S, [... all of whom I go to bed with each night :-)] and anyone else involved, I would very much appreciate it.

Many thanks for all you do.

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Hope you all have a good night.

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

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