Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Grati-Tuesday 30 June


Greetings all.

Last night I called for Aussie Star blocks for Wounded Warrior Quilts. As you can imagine, noone would understand the value of these quilts more than a Wounded Warrior and perhaps his wife. Well our own wounded warrior. Garry, has just come home from another hospital visit for his 18th surgery since the accident in Afghanistan and this photo was taken of him with his Wounded Warrior Quilt in hospital.  Note his laundry bag hanging up too.



When Katrina read that we are calling for Aussie Star Blocks for Wounded Warrior Quilts she posted this photo on Facebook and issued a challenge to her Facebook Friends.

"This month Aussie Heroes are asking people to make blocks for Wounded Warrior Quilts for it they are needed. (I hope they aren't needed) They are made up and in country for any soldiers wounded to receive straight away. They have a distinct Aussie theme. I would love to make some blocks. 

I am asking one thing. 


Could all my friends please go to Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags)Facebook page and like it, for everyone of my friends that like the page I will make a block."


I did not know Katrina was going to do that and when I read the post on Facebook.... well I must say there was something in my eye!!   I love it!  and Katrina's friends have jumped on board and she will not be bored.  She has plenty of sewing to do!

She has some other blocks to make first for a quilt that she and I are collaborating on and then she will get stuck into the star..... ummmmm.... if her quality control inspector, Louis, will let her that is.


Way to go Katrina!

Another short note before you get to read some really special thank you messages.....

Two of our quilters and great supporters are Bev and Geoff from Mulberry Lane Quilting. They will be in Wodonga this weekend 3rd 4th 5th July at CraftAlive held at the Sports and Leisure Centre.
If you are in the area and are thinking of heading to the craft show how about popping in to say hello. If you are a recipient they would LOVE to meet you and Aussie Hero Friends should absolutely say hello.
Look for Mulberry Lane Quilting site .


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I have had a lot of questions about PM keys.

What are they?

They are the seven digit number that starts with 8 that you will receive when you receive the address for your recipient.    For example ....

8765432  CPL Wanda Quilt
AFPO 19
ADF
Sydney NSW 2890

Hope that clears it up.
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So many gorgeous thank you messages but this one really touched me.

Dear Julie-Ann


I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the amazing job you did in the creation of my laundry bag you hit the mark beautifully. I really appreciate the letter and the work you have put into this in and around your very busy life. 


I want you to know that all the lads and ladies who receive these gifts feel an immense sense of pride and humility due to your work. As we are usually too busy ensuring we produce the highest quality and professional product in our individual tasks, none of us truly see ourselves as heroes, yet if we drag ourselves out of the moment and look at what it is we are achieving and fighting for, the job we do is extraordinary. At times comes with great risk and of course great benefits, but not for us as individuals, but for others at home and around the world,  this is not normally appreciated by us until we return to our loved ones and the achievements sink in. 


It is our loved ones who bare the true load and pain of our duty, and the job you, and all at Aussie Hero Quilts, makes us realise it is all worth while, it strengthens our resolve and reminds us that we are really doing great things for others, not just the professional job for ourselves, our team and our families.



Kind regards and in great appreciation

......


    Dear Jan-Maree,

    I am writing this note to say a massive thank-you to you and your team for all the work you put in to the STUNNING quilts that you send over here. They area  huge boost to our morale, made to order with love and care. As soon as anyone gets one, they run     around showing everyone (both ladies and gents do this) and our coalition partners are incredibly jealous.

    Could you please pass the next message on to the lady who made my quilt. I have misplaced her letter so I don’t have her details.

    “Hello” thank you for my amazing quilt. I especially love the darling geishas on the underside. They are a wonderful touch! My apologies for the very late thank you note. I’ve kept meaning to write but been so busy with work! I hope you and your family are safe     and well after all the crazy weather lately.

    Thank you again for the marvellous quilt!

......

Good Morning Diann, 

I have just received your wonderful hero quilt. Thank you very much. I will be sure to use it rather than the issue ones we are given. Rest assured it will be treasured for years to come. I have spread the food around to everyone, and we all are enjoying it very much. We all love chocolate, even if our fitness regimes don't. Items such as these drastically improve morale, and remind all that we are not forgotten by those at home. People like yourself are the reason we come here to do the jobs we do. Thank you very much, never underestimate how much good you're doing.  



Big thanks from the whole team here :)

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Hi Jan-Maree

I have had the recent pleasure of receiving a gorgeous laundry bag.  It is absolutely bursting with colour, the complete opposite of where we are currently living and working.  Here it is hot, brown, dusty and very unlike home.  The colour and build of this bag makes my day.

In a slightly unusual twist I am a Kiwi, as you may or may not be aware there is currently a middle eastern deployment that is integrated mission between our nations. The bags came to our workshop and apart from being a very useful addition to my kit is and will be a reminder of the time I have spent with Aussies and the job that we work on together and between us produce a greater result than we could do as separate countries.  It is a honour to serve with Aussies and this lovely bag will be a constant reminder of that.

Thank you again for your commitment to helping soldiers remember who they represent and reminding them that the home fires are burning bright and supporting those away doing what they do best.

Have a great day, you have improved mine.
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For one of Nancy and Norma's quilts.

Dear Jan-Maree

I received my quilt the day before I left for my vacation…I’ve only just got back and would love to say I’m so impressed…the ladies have done a perfect job…it’s gorgeous…thank you all so much…it is so appreciated by all of us over here and handy in our aircon accommodation, I’m using it now on my legs to keep me warm…

Thanks again.
Kind regards
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Dear Nancy, i would like to thank you personally for the effort you and your friends have put into my quilt, i have recieved it about two weeks ago and would like to say that i love it!, i use it everyday on my bed. regards
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Hi Pam,



Thankyou very much for the wonderful laundry bag that you have made it is very much appreciated and i will put it to good use. I think it is absolutely wonderful what you do for the members of our defence force and also the kids in need, the refuge and for the fund-raising for breast cancer Australia.



I have served in the RAN for over 13 years, serving in many different ships and establishments and have been deployed to many different areas. I am originally from XXXXXXX before joining the RAN and currently live in Sydney with my beautiful wife who is also a member of the RAN and has served for 12 years and our three beautiful young children.



Thankyou for your support of our defence force,  your kindness makes a big difference to the lives of many.

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Hey Leanne,

Just wanted say a big thank you for the hero quilt it looks sensational. Its always exciting to get some mail. 

I hope things are going well for you back home and sugar cane is growing fast.

Kind regards 

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Hi Nancy

I am currently deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan, and I recently received a parcel from you.

As the war in Afghanistan has become overshadowed by other world conflicts, it’s nice to know we aren’t forgotten by the people we risk our lives for. Most Australians don’t even know we are still here. I appreciate your time and your effort. I hope yourself and the other kind hearted women continue to do this for future deployed soldiers of the Australian Defence Force. Myself and my brothers here are truly thankful for your gifts, which will one day be part of the memories of what we did here, and the people we did it for.

Thank you very much!
Sincerely, 
.....

Hello Joan and Robin,



Thank you very much for the laundry bag! it has made another long trip worth doing. Its good to know that there are still good people out there doing good things for other Australians. I actually received the bag roughly the same time as my birthday so it was nice to open a present.

My locker is now more colourful and reminds me of home every time i look at it.



My phone was lost whilst in india so i haven't been able to take a photo of me with it yet. But i'm sure the ships photographer will arrange for us to have our pictures taken and i will send it to you when i do.



Thank you again,

....


Dear Joan and Robin,

I'm writing to thank you for the laundry bag that I recently received from you.



I love dogs, so it made me smile. 



Unfortunately, we are not authorised to send photographs from my current location.



Thank you for all that you do. You and your organisation make a significant contribution to the morale of deployed ADF personnel.



Kind regards,

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Just a note, we love photos but security is always the most important consideration where our troops are concerned so if not having photos makes them safer.... that is just fine with me and I am sure it is with you.

Dear Jan-Maree

Today I received my quilt and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is absolutely lovely and I will treasure it always.  I would also like to thank Julie Ann, Stephanie T and Helen for their contributions in making this quilt.  I am so proud to be serving my country and in my 26 years of being in the Air Force I actually feel as if I am contributing with all I am.  You are doing something that brings us a little bit more of feeling at home which I treasure every day.

Thank you.
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Dear Sue,
Thank you so much for my incredible quilt and laundry bag! You have no idea how excited I was when I received the parcel! The time and effort you have put into the quilt and laundry bag is so appreciated - I really felt the love and support. I will cherish them for the rest of my career. It really is a wonderful thing that you do. I hope you know how much a joy you bring to deployed personnel all over the world.

I am currently deployed to the Middle East as a postal clerk.   I love my job as mail is incredibly important. - Especially when all the quilts come in! In my first deployment I have already processed over 3 tonnes of mail by myself - It keeps me busy!
Thank you so much!!
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G'day Tracey,

I am lying happily underneath my new u-beaut quilt!

You have done a brilliant job on the quilt as it makes me smile every morning and evening.  I actually enjoy making my bed in the morning cos I get to see the two Sandtroopers glaring up at me with their dark soul-less eyes!  I love it!  When I got it the other day and unboxed it, it received admiring looks and comments from my section mates and others in our workplace.
I hope you took some photos of it as it really is a work of art.  I have to take some for mates back home as Ive already told quite a few about it.

Thanks again for your beautiful quilt, I am humbled by your care and effort.  Thank you too for the lollies (shared amongst team) and the puzzle books...good for long Hercules flight rides!

All the best Tracey and I hope things are well for you and family

Regards,
.....

Hello Lisa

I am writing to say thank you very much for the quilt and laundry bag that you made for me. My colleagues are very impressed with it. I will treasure these and they will be a fabulous memento of this deployment. 

Your comments about heat are very topical at the moment. The last few weeks the weather here has been around 45 degrees and very unpleasant. I believe it is only going to get worse as the temperature will rise a little however the humidity will increase a lot. Growing up on the coast I got used to a temperature range of moderate proportions – rarely too hot and rarely too cold. This is quite unpleasant. Having said that, my last deployment was to a country where we got to – 17 degrees and often -10 degrees in the day.

I really admire the work that you and your team of quilters do. The people that have received items here really love them and it provides excitement when they arrive. I have been waiting and watching the post the last week or so and was thrilled with the result. We receive parcels from a variety of sources – we receive quite a few from schools and from families saying thanks and posting us items. This is a great thrill to know that people back home appreciate our work and are thinking of us. This reinforces my belief that we live in a great society. These types of actions go some way to making up for the time spent away from our families, missed children’s birthday, anniversaries and the like. Six months can take a long time to go by. This is the second time I have missed my wife’s birthday, wedding anniversary (our 2nd this year) and our eldest son’s birthday. I shouldn’t complain though, as I really enjoy my occupation and enjoying one's job is a large factor in quality of life. We work with a great group of people here who are all professional and fully dedicated to our task and believe in what we are her to do.

Thank you very much once again for your lovely gift and I offer my best wishes to you and your family.

Regards
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Dear Jan-Maree

I am one of the lucky fellows to have received a laundry bag from your wonderful organisation. What a wonderful gift it is. I must confess, like most infantry officers, my organisational skills extend only so far as my military equipment and uniforms. Laundering items were quite absent from my packing list when I arranged my gear prior to departure. So the unexpected arrival of a much needed laundry bag provided much mirth and allowed this gentleman to keep up appearances.

It is comforting to know that we have support at home. Not much to report from over here. It is hot, dry and tumultuous as it has always been since Adam was a boy. But the mission goes well and the Australian and New Zealand teamwork is as close as ever. (Aside from the odd fracas over the latest sporting results).

But, aside from the interminable squabbling over who’s rugby team will prevail in the World Cup this year, it is honestly good to be a part of a worthwhile mission that forges the countries closer, We are quartered with Americans as well who are a little mystified by the sight of Aussie and Kiwi infantrymen running about on a dust paddock playing touch football in 35 degree heat. But once they got used to our constant barbs against each other, they got on board with a team as well. Coalition building through shared aerobic suffering and amusement.

Well I must attend to matters, but may I thank you once again for the wonderful gift. A veritable weapon in the never-ending war against dirty laundry and, more importantly, a lovely show of support. 
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Hi Ruth

I would like to pass on my most sincere thanks for the beautifully crafted quilt I have just received.
Thank you for your effort, it is very much appreciated. You should be very proud of your quilting achievements.

I'm 35 yrs, and have been in the Navy since I was 17.
This would be my third MEAO deployment (2001,2003 ,& 2015), but this is the first time I have received a quilt from Aussie Hero Quilts. 

I live with my husband and we have the most beautiful two year old darling little girl (I could be slightly biased)
With the photos that my husband has been sending, I think she will be a little lady when I get home. She has grown so much.
Once again

….


Good evening Heather,

I am emailing to let you know that the quilt you made for me arrived today. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you must have put into it; I absolutely love it. After I had filled in the application I realised how mismatched my interests were colour scheme wise. Was a bit worried about how it would be melded together. You've done a fantastic job. Hope it wasn't too painful having to make up another team's colours though :P
Thanks for the goodies too, much appreciated.

Hope all is well with you back in Aus.
.....


What a lovely fellow this is. It has been a long time since I have been called Ma'am but I appreciate the courtesy.


Good Morning Ma'am,

I just wanted to let you know that I received a care package from AHQ today containing a quilt and a laundry bag. Both were very well made and were accompanied by a two page letter from the sender which I really enjoyed reading (I'm going to write back shortly). I think your charity does a great job raising the moral of those of us serving away from home I know there was a lot of excitement (and maybe a little showing off) when the mail arrived. 

Thank you and all your volunteers for the work you do.

Warmest Regards
.....

I would like to thank you for the time and effort you put into making my quilt. It really made my day when I received it. The tim tams and chocolate were a nice touch too!

I took my quilt home during my leave break to show my kids. My son (far left in the attached photo) claimed it as his from the moment he saw it. He asked me if he could look after it for me until I come home. How could I argue with that face. I am told it is his pride and joy and sleeps with it every night.

My wife  who took the photo, has probably had the hardest job of the two of us the last 5 months, but she has done a fantastic job by herself. Superwoman. She is a secondary teacher, while I think that is enough she has almost completed studying her masters of guidance and counselling masters of education.

So thank you for not only putting a smile on my face, but for making my  family smile too. I think it is a really beautiful thing you guys do with the quilts. All the soldiers love them and are very grateful.

Regards



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Hello Ladies,

Thankyou very much for the most amazing quilt I have ever had made for me, well it's the only quilt that's been made for me..lol. The quilt turned out far better than the picture in my head and it certainly has added a more homely feel and colour to my bed spread, knowing that there are such wonderful people like yourselves donating your time and effort into making these awesome quilts makes me proud to be an Australian soldier know people back home are proud of he work we do, though I feel the real heroes are organisations like yours that make us feel appreciated when we are far from home. Your quilting group sound like a very lively bunch and your town also sounds quite lovely, especially the way you describe it, I do enjoy country towns not that I live in one.  I will leave this email at this point but would like to say that you are an inspiration and I hope others will be inspired to join your group and help with such a fantastic and rewarding cause.

Kind regards,
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Hi Leanne,

        Honesty I am blown away, one that someone would do this for me and two at the amazing quilt and laundry bag that you have done.  It is unbelievable and I am so excited to receive such a wonderful gift.  It is very comforting that someone at home would think of us like this and show there gratitude in such a way.  I have been doing this job for quite some time and this thought is just a fantastic thing.  The timing was also fantastic as I just had my birthday at sea and to come alongside and receive this in the mail is very exciting.

          My Aunty is actually a very avid quilter and travels to the shows that you have described, I am sure that she is probably going to the Rockampton show and will make sure she visits yours and Jan-Maree's display, her name is XXXXX and she lives in XXXX but loves to travel around to craft and quilt shows.

                 Sounds like you love what you do very much, I know what that is like, our job is very fulfilling and rewarding and am very proud doing what I do.

Anyway, I just wanted to quickly drop you a thankyou email and pass on my gratitude.

Thankyou and please keep doing this,

it is a wonderful thought for people that don't get thanked enough, especially those personnel ashore on the ground,

regards,
.....



Dear Lisa

The laundry bag and quilt look amazing and have made many people envious. The scroll and leather pouch are a nice touch as well.
My family has told me that it is quite cold in Australia at the moment and I am continually seeing snapchats of my sister in warm, thick clothing. She is also in the Army and currently based in Melbourne. It is a stark contrast from 42 – 43 Degrees heat over here (and it is getting hotter; August is the hottest month here)

The time over here at times has gone quickly and at others slowly. It is nice that people back home take an interest what we are doing day to day and not just about the government mission.


Once again thank you.
.....

Good Afternoon JM, Joan, Robin, Norma and Nancy.

I wanted to email you and let you know that I am so grateful for my quilt and laundry bag.

I am lucky enough to see the work that you do in a few ways:

firstly: the amazing quilt you made for my fiance when he was deployed. It means a lot as a spouse at home to organise something for your partner that they will cherish. We are getting that quilt framed as it is one of our most prized possessions.

secondly: being a clerk I send off a few requests and every member that has received one has come running in my office "Check this out, They have done such a great job" The smile and gratitude on their faces is something indescribable.

Thirdly: My amazing quilt and laundry bag. Funny enough I got them when I returned from ROCTFA was perfect timing! I had the dreaded post ROCTFA blues and lots of laundry. It really lifted my spirits and I absolutely love them.    

I just wanted you to know that your work is very much appreciated over here.

You are all so talented each and every quilt I have seen has been spectacular

 Thank-you to you   




.....



Hello Irene,

I just wanted to thank you for the amazing quilt and laundry bag that you made for me I really appreciate all do the effort and detail you put into it. I'm a massive broncos fan so getting that quilt with his signature was a massive bonus I was definitely not expecting. Again thank you so much it's good to see other people thinking about us besides our friends and family. 
......

Dear Julie,

Just want to stay a big thank you for sending me the awesome laundry bag. It's an awesome design and it comes in very handy here.
All the soldiers here appreciate what you guys at AHQ do for us. it's always good to know that we have a lot of support from you guys back at home.
I wish you and your family all the best for the future.
.....

.....


Good Morning,

I've been lucky enough to receive both a Hero Quilt and a laundry bag courtesy of your organisation. They were sent by Julie-Ann and Lynn. This has been my third deployment to Afghanistan, but the first time I've received important tokens such as these from anyone, let alone complete strangers. It's both gladdening and a little overwhelming to think that your organisation is following in a tradition that was set over 100 years ago. That tradition being unqualified support to people you’ve all never met and probably never will. I've seen statistics on the news and the internet that tell us that Australians are broadly behind the ADF in the Middle East, but again, this is the first time I've seen that support in real life. Thank you and your organisation for all that they've done and will be doing in the future. 


Regards,
.....

Dear Julie and Lynn,

I’m currently nearing the end of my deployment in Kabul and am looking forward to finally going home. The time I’ve spent here has definitely been interesting. It’s been my first deployment to Kabul, but my third to Afghanistan overall. Kabul is like a lot of cities in the region, busy and varied. There is a broad diversity of people here, which seems to make the place almost cosmopolitan in its own special way. As much as you might hear a lot of negative things about both Kabul and Afghanistan in general, the country might finally be starting to head in a positive direction. One of the more constructive things for us is that, as the Afghans are becoming more responsible for their own security, we’re becoming less and less necessary. Slowly but surely they’re doing us out of a job.

I’ve asked for this message to be sent to both of you because I’ve been lucky enough to have received a laundry bag and quilt from yourselves respectively. While I’ve been given many things in my career, receiving personal items that have been hand made is certainly a highlight. But not just a highlight, also a heartening sign that we have support from people we will probably never meet. It’s like undeserved moral support, but better.

As a bit of personal history, my great grandfather was killed in France during WW 1. As a result, his personal effects were returned home. Being the only serving member in my family I’ve been given his effects to pass on to my children as they get older. To maintain the somewhat short history of my family’s military service, I’m planning on also passing on the two items you have sent me to my children. As much as I’ve received medals to recognise my service over here, passing on a concrete sign of support from other Australians is just as important.  

Ultimately, thankyou for your signs of support and everything you will do for other ADF personnel in the future. You are all certainly adding an extra layer to our deployed experiences.

Sincerest Regards,
.....

Pam,

I have just received my Laundry Bag today. Thank you very much for the time and effort that you and your team put into the making of these fantastic items. These items just make the day for all those who are and have been deployed. Your teams efforts do not go unnoticed over here.

Please pass on my thanks to all who assist in this morale building endeavour, that you and your team perform.

Thanks again.

Regards
.....

Sue,
Thank you for your time and your efforts, You have a skill.
I had been out and about for about 7 days and when I returned to base I found a parcel at my door.
With much excitement and yelling I opened my parcel and found the superhero blanket, It looks a treat on my bed.
I cannot say thank you enough for offering your time and your skill, It really is a special gesture that I will hold with me.
Where my travels in the Army now take me, rest assured your blanket will be there as well.
I have posted to the FB page pictures and a special thank you.

My kindest regards and heartfelt thanks to yourself.

Regards
.....

The following is part of an email the chaplain on HMAS Newcastle sent me.   He has given me permission to share it with you and I thought you would enjoy it.


“As you will have seen from some of the replies, the quilts and laundry bags are having a huge impact for good on the crew. There are plenty of people who have done more than one or two deployments and they have never come across an idea at once so obvious ("Let's make personalised quilts for their beds!") and yet so full of logistical challenges and (potential) headaches ("HOW many do you want????!!!!) - which has impacted them in a very deep way. The smiles on the faces, the amazement at the quality and intricacy of the work, the laughter as people share the stories behind the quilt designs and the letters from the quilters, and the sheer overwhelming sense of gratitude at the realisation that a complete stranger has taken the time, effort, and resources to create something so personal and beautiful: all these reactions are there.
 
And I get the sheer pleasure of letting them know - usually before they read their e-mails - that their quilt is on the way.
 
It's all just VERY SPECIAL!!”

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

Jan-Maree xx