Thursday, 23 July 2015

Thank you to those serving from Mooroolbark East Primary School.

Finally I can tell the story of another school that got involved in Aussie Heroes this year.  This is about the Mooroolbark East Primary School which is in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, not far from Mt Dandenong.

74 Grade 6 students - 72 laundry bags - 1 awesome quilter
A whole lot of learning and a whole lot of love.


Here is the story as told by Jill S which I believe is based around the letter that accompanied each laundry bag when it was sent away.

.......

These bags were made by the Grade 6 students at Mooroolbark East Primary School. Mooroolbark is an outer eastern suburb of Melbourne. The school is the school I retired from after teaching for 40 years. Upon retirement, I started looking for activities to do that would also involve my passion for sewing and making quilts...... 
Along came
AUSSIE HERO QUILTS AND LAUNDRY BAGS

I started sewing for this program in 2012. I have done batches of LB and quite a few quilts.

However , back to Grade 6.

I taught many of these kids when they were Preps. As Grade 6ers, Term 2 they were studying "Australia at War". My friend Melinda, who is one of the Grade 6 teachers, asked if I would make a quilt with the kids and I also suggested making the LB. How hard could it be?

All straight sewing - all good. Twenty something kids, done in no time. 

WRONG!!!

She meant all the Grade 6 classes - 3 of them which equals 78 kids!!!!

In for a penny: in for a pound, off we went. 

So, over the past 7 weeks, I have spent time at my old school sewing with a couple of kids every day. The Principal wanted to put me back on staff!!!

I was amazed at how quickly the kids got into the sewing routine; especially the boys and we only unpicked a few seams.

The sad thing is, I had all this fabric in my cupboards - except for the "guitar" one that I bought for a boy who plays the guitar every break.

I hope the personnel enjoy the many choices in laundry bags and know the kids had fun making them. I am sure you will be able to "match" some to particular people.

 During the process, we had many discussions about why people in the ADF do this job and what it must be like to be away from your family for long periods of time.

 They now have a real sense of why we refer to you and your peers as "AUSSIE HEROES".

I have had some lovely messages from the "boys & girls" who have received a quilt I made.

 Reading these has also helped the kids in their understandings of "service to our country".

Each bag has a letter from the student who made it. Hopefully, some people will be able to respond to the maker of their bag, but we do understand if this is not possible or appropriate.

The quilt the children are making features a poppy block. On the petals, each child has written the details of a family member; or someone they have researched, who served in a conflict somewhere in the world over the last 100 years, or a Victory Cross recipient.
When finished, it will be presented to the local RSL.

I am delighted to take part in this "Aussie Hero" program and enjoyed bringing the experience to the children.

We  hope you get as much of a buzz receiving as we have in giving.






The bags were sent off to Iraq and Afghanistan and the students have already received a response or two.
.......


Hi Jill (and fellow grade 6 students),


First of all, a big hello and thank you for all your efforts in creating the laundry bags for some of the deployed men and women here in Afghanistan. Every time I receive a box of laundry bags to hand out to newcomers I enjoy finding out about the individual(s) who have spent many of their own precious hours creating something so special for us to enjoy, not just for our deployment but also for the years that follow. School children are often my favourites as I can see the effort and excitement that goes along with their handy work, making them that little bit more special. The photos are also an extra special touch - the children look absolutely chuffed. 

I am almost half way through my deployment here and have enjoyed most of it so far. I am currently posted to Sydney, NSW but am originally from Launceston, TAS. I have served approximately five years in the ADF and this is my first deployment overseas. I have made many great new friends during my deployment which makes it a little easier to be away from family and friends back in Australia. We take comfort in the little things and the laundry bags (and quilts) provide a little bit of colour to our rooms. 

We had a large group of newcomers arrive last weekend and they were given an introduction into the work that Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags do. All the laundry bags that we had stocked up were snatched up very quickly and I suspect that many of the others who unfortunately missed out will be in contact with Jan-Maree to order their own. 

If the children have any specific questions of me I will do my best to answer them where I can.  

Thanks again Jill for all the hard work (and no doubt patience!) that went into the laundry bags and for your kind words in the letter. It is nice to know that we have the support from back at home. 

Kind regards,
......

Dear Meghan
Thank you so much for the beautiful laundry bag. You have done such a lovely job with the sewing and the material is really pretty. My job or ‘mustering’ as we call it in the Royal Australian Air Force is an Aeronautical Life Support Fitter. I service, fit and maintain the safety survival equipment that our Pilots and Aircrew take with them when they fly. We also look after the safety equipment that is fitted to our aircraft, like the lift rafts, escape slides and oxygen masks. Depending on which job I am doing I may also be required to do some sewing so I can appreciate the hard work you have put into it.

OK so I will tell you a little bit about myself now. I have been in the Air Force for 9 yrs and have done 2 different jobs. Supply Clerk and now Aeronautical Life Support Fitter. This is my second deployment, the first one in 2008. Being deployed is a great experience to do something for our country. 

It also gives you lots of opportunities to do something you would not normally get the chance to do, visit new places and met new people from all over the world. The first time I was deployed for 6 months and now this time I will be deployed for 4 months. The amount of time you are deployed for varies depending on what job you do and which squadron or unit you work for. I am originally from Adelaide. I have been ‘posted’ which means I have had to move to a different location for work a few times now. I have lived in Wagga Wagga NSW, Townsville QLD and am currently living in Williamtown NSW. 

Well Meghan I really enjoyed reading your letter. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it and thanks to Ms/Mrs Smith for helping you.

Take care and happy horse riding.



Hi Ryan,

First of all let me thank you for the awesome laundry bag, it has come in especially handy as I forgot to bring one over with me.

To answer your question, I do love AFL, I play in the QAFL league back home, usually line up in the ruck, it helps being 6'5 lol. I follow Carlton, although haven't got to watching footy this season due to work.

Thanks so much for all your support it mean so much to all the boys over here.
Thanks again buddy I hope to hear back from you with any other questions you have.

Cheers mate,

..... 

Hello Charlotte,

Thank you very much for the laundry bag, I just got it today, it is fantastic. It takes a while for mail to get to us.

I think the pattern is very cool and looks like solar systems and space. I'm very impressed that you made it, when I was 11 I don't think I could have made anything like that. All I wanted to do is go outside and play sports.

I hope your dance competition went well and that you weren't too scared, I think that it's pretty fascinating that you do ballroom dancing.

My Grandfather was in WW2 as well, he was a pilot for the RAAF and flew in Papua New Guinea, maybe they knew each other?

So I work in logistics and provide anyone with the equipment they need to do their job. From nuts,bolts and oil for mechanics, to body armour and weapons for those who need it.

I finished year 12 in 2011 and joined the Army in 2013, during the gap I worked at McDonalds while I figured out what I wanted to do, but also travelled to New Zealand for a month and a half for a holiday.

I like to go to the gym and workout, indoor rock climbing, ride my motorcycles and go to the rifle range.

I'm 22, I had my birthday while I'm over here.

The weather, it's so hot over here at the moment it was 42 degrees at 9.30 in the morning and during the middle of the day the thermometer maxed out at 50 degrees plus. It takes hot to a whole new level.

Hope you have a wonderful school term and keep working hard at school and study hard at high school, it does pay off in the end.
  
Lots of thanks,

.....

Hi Brianna Courtney,

I am writing to thank you for your gift of the laundry bag. I am a real animal lover, so your paw print bag is a real hit and will get used straight away.

In answer to your questions:

I am married and have three kids, two boys 25 yrs old and 22 yrs old, and one girl 17 yrs old.

I never thought I would be in a war, but always thought I would join the Defence Force.

I don't have any animals here, but I have two dogs and a cat at home.

I am an Avionics Technician, which means I work on the electrical, instrument, communications and radar systems on the E7 Wedgetail Aircraft, and

A big thanks to you and your classmates for their kind gifts and thoughts. It  brings a real smile to our faces and glow to our hearts to know that people at home are thinking of us.

Yours Sincerely,

.....
               
Hi Jorja,
I am a private in the Army. Thank you so much for the laundry bag.  I use it all the time!
My job in the Army is a Rifleman, it's a very hard job but I very much enjoy it.
I am 23 years old, I don't have any kids. I am currently serving in Afghanistan, it's very hot here!

I now live in Brisbane, the weather there is amazing.
I go for Carlton football club, and my favourite place to go on holiday would be Falls Creek, I love snow boarding.  

Hope to hear back from you.
.....

   Hi Will

My name is XXX, my mates call me Frosty I'm 29 years old and live in NSW.
When I get back home from deployment I am getting married and hopefully have some kids soon.  At the moment I have a dog who is a big baby. 

My main interest's are surfing and playing sports, but I do also enjoy playing world of Warcraft on computer over here to make my free time go quicker. It's summer here at the moment so most days get above 50 degrees so its to hot for outdoor sports.

I am in the Airforce and work as a equipo at a flying squadron so my job is to purchase and make sure all the aircraft parts arrive on time so the jets can keep flying.

I imagine you would love it where I work considering you are right into technology and video games, I work alongside a group of guys called Techo's - they build and repair all the cool computer systems on the jets, which to me looks like one big video game.

I am jealous you have 2 brothers I only have 1 sister so the only toys she could share were barbies not video games.

Being in the Airforce is the best job in the world, I love it.
And thankyou for the laundry bag.  All the guys from other squadrons just have plain ones and keep asking us where we got them from. We all love them.

Thanks for all your support and enjoy your last year at primary school!


                                 
 UNCLASSIFIED
..... 

Hi Joshua. B
                         Thank you for the laundry bag and for the time that you spent making it. I appreciate the time and effort that you have put in to making a great laundry bag. I came over here without a laundry bag, so it was something I needed and I will use while I am over here and will take it every time I deploy overseas (which is a lot). 

I originally came from Ballarat in Victoria and come from a family of 6 siblings. I am married with 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys. The AFL team I barrack for is Carlton and my favourite passtime is to watch my son play AFL and also Carlton, I like to watch the V8 Supercars and V8 utes races. I have a Holden VE SS ute and a Kawasaki ZX14 motorcycle that I like to ride on weekends when I am not working. 

Once again I would like to thank you and your class mates for all the time that you spent making the laundry bags.  My whole maintenance team over here is extremely proud of you all for the time and effort put in making the laundry bags and for recognising the service that we all provide for Australia.

Regards,

.....


Hi There Abor,

Firstly, thank you so much for your laundry bag. I picked yours because  I liked the colours and design and especially the material with the Australian flags on it. I am using it already and really appreciate the great work you have obviously put into it.

I am currently on deployment in the Middle East as an aircraft technician with the Royal  Australian Air Force. My job here is to look after the jets in our squadron to make sure the engines and most of the other parts of the plane are always ready to fly so we can do our job here. While I can imagine that the weather there is very cold at the moment, I can tell you that the weather here is very very hot with temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius .This makes it quite difficult to do our job here but you get used to it after a while.

A little about myself: I have been in the RAAF for 15 years with this being my third trip to the Middle East. I live in Newcastle which is situated about 160km North of Sydney. Just like you, I am the eldest and have 2 brothers and both my parents are retired with my dad being a doctor and Mum being a nurse. Because I have always lived near the beach, I enjoy surfing, swimming and running on the sand. I have a little boy who is 6 years old and has just started school this year which he is really enjoying. I am trying to teach him how to surf too and he also enjoys skateboarding and riding his bike.

It was good to hear that you are also interested in music as I have a bit of a background with music too. When I was in my twenties, I played bass guitar in a band for around 3 years where we used to play at a lot of different venues around Newcastle. This was a lot of fun and these days I still play guitar occasionally but will always have a passion for music. I really do wish you well if you intend to further your music interests.

Maybe you could become both a doctor and singer? But whatever you, don't give up your dreams!

I hope this letter reaches you ok and it has been a pleasure writing to you.

..... 

         
Gday Salena and the grade 6 kids at Mooroolbark East,
I'm 25 years old and I'm from beautiful Brisbane. I'm an Infantry soldier currently serving in Iraq. I have a lovely girlfriend and 2 little kittens waiting for me back home. I was a mechanic before i joined the Army, i decided to join because I wanted to challenge myself and serve my country like my Dad did, who is an Afghanistan veteran.
I don't follow the AFL im afraid butIi do like watching the NRL, GO THE TITANS.
Thank you all very much for making these great laundry bags, you dont even realise how much we all needed these!   Stay safe kids and be good.
Sincerely, 
......
        
Hi Will
 am19 years old and am serving in the Australian army. I can not thank you enough for the laundry bag. Most people might think its nothing but over here where I am, the littlest things mean the a lot. I serve in the infantry corp. My trade is a rifleman. Im sorry to say I don't follow AFL. I know the rules and teams, but growing up in Brisbane, Queensland, I followed rugby league. But if I had to choose a team, I'd say the Geelong cats. I barrack for South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL. I do not have kids, but i do have a beautiful girlfriend. I can't really say where i am right now, but lets just say its nothing like home.  Well will I have to go now. Thank you again for the laundry bag. I hope to hear from you soon.

.......

Some of the recipients were kind enough to send photos of themselves with their laundry bags but I have not got permission to publish. I think the story is good enough without anyway.

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

3 comments:

  1. What a great story. I love to see kids sewing, but sewing for Aussie Heros is so much better. Well done to Jill & Mooroolbark East Primary School

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  2. What a fabulous idea to have the kids make the LBs as part of their Australians at War theme. Jill, I have done machine sewing with Grades 5/6 and I think you are a star to tackle such a large group. The replies from the defence personal were great and really written with the kids in mind.


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