Thursday, 14 December 2017

Block of the Month Quilts 14th December 2017


Here are a few quilts to delight you...made by the Coffs Harbour Sewing Team using
BLOCKS OF THE MONTH
made by our wonderful volunteers all over Australia.

If you would like to make Blocks of the Month please go here for the Tutorial

Top by Di G
Quilting by Mary Moody

Quilt by Jeanette Gosschalk

Quilt top by Jo H
Quilted by Mary M


Quilt top by Cheryl D
Quilted by Lynne V


Quilt top by Ange H
Quilted by Mary M




For Harry...... a story of mateship and the Defence Family......

When I dreamed up the concept of sending quilts and laundry bags to the troops I never envisaged the depth of reach we would have.   Yes, we send quilts and bags to our deployed troops, but we also look after the wounded and injured and the families of the fallen.  When we can, we take on special projects like the quilts for the coalition Chapel in Kabul, or the quilts for the coalition hospital in Iraq.    There are many quilts that we make that have very special stories behind them, but often I cannot always share them as they are too personal.

This story is not really our story but it has been shared on Facebook, and in the service newspapers, and I wanted to make sure that the Aussie Hero Readers were able to read it as well, plus now we have our own little chapter to add.   It is such a special story of mateship and is a wonderful illustration of the strength of the Defence Family that I really did not want you to miss out on it.
.....

On Saturday the 25th of November I was scrolling through Facebook, as you do, and I came across this story.  Check it out here 

When I watched that video I was very moved.  So much so that I really wanted to contribute and the best way for us to do that would be a quilt.  I contacted Pete, one of the car restoring conspirators, to work out what would be appropriate to include on the quilt and to see if it was going to be possible to get one to our Triumph stag owner, LTCOL Michael Harris, or Harry as his mates call him.

As I said, I saw the story on Facebook on the morning of the 25th of November.  I happened to be in Canberra with my husband and we were scheduled to drive to Jugiong to meet up with friends who are posted to Malaysia from Wagga.   On the way there, the Facebook messages between Pete and I continued.   Once I had all the details I needed I started contacting volunteers to see what we could do in the very short amount of time we had.

Pete sent me the following crest... that of the Australian Army Public Relations Service.   I forwarded it on to Keryn and asked her if she thought she could re-produce it by Tuesday morning.   Didn't she do an awesome job!!!



Then there was the stag logo.  This I sent to Gail and she was able to create an appliqued version in time for Tuesday morning as well. 


I also contacted Kerri B and asked her if she could please create some embroideries for me - the Rising Sun and the Motto of the Corps in both english "Defend and Inform" and in Latin "Defende et Doce".

I also called Bridget and she dropped around to my home to see how many green and gold blocks we had leftover from the Aussie Pride blocks that were made over December/ January.   

As soon as I got home from Canberra on the Sunday afternoon I set about designing the quilt based around all the components we had.  

At 9am on Tuesday morning Gail and Anne H arrived and set to work. They had to trim the blocks to size and then put the various pieces together.  Sometime in the afternoon the quilt top was completed and the ladies were able to layer it ready for quilting and then it was quilted on the Simply 16 quilting machine.   Finally Gail stayed around to complete the binding and add a personalised label.   Harry's quilt was finished. 

On Wednesday I decided that this quilt could well be hung on the wall so I added a rod pocket.   On Thursday Pete had to come to Sydney for work so I drove the quilt to HMAS Kuttabul and passed it to him.   Now it was on its way to its new owner. 

I will come back to the quilt... 
......

Pete shared some photos with me for this story... the first is Harry holding Pete's beloved daughter.  Pete says that the arrival of his daughter was the highlight of this year but that watching Harry negotiate this awful journey to the end has been the gut wrencher. 


The University of New South Wales (UNSW) held a special graduation for Harry to celebrate and confirm his Masters degree a couple of weeks or so ago.  Pete said "It speaks a lot of the human spirit in times of adversity that the University went the extra mile to ensure he and his family could experience this proud moment. This is a picture of three blokes who have been mentored by a great teacher." 
In the picture below with Harry are Pete, LTCOL Haydn Barlow and MAJ Lachlan Simond."


.....

Not too long ago LTCOL Harris himself wrote an article for the army news. 

Here is a transcript of the article.

Teeing off last time with some advice
Lt-Col Mike Harris on the importance of mateship.

At 48, with a wife, two teenage children, a dog, mortgage and a project car, I was forced to confront the issues of depression and death.
A year on, I was able to celebrate my 49th year.

In this time I have never been so proud of my courageous wife and two beautiful teenage children as they have helped me deal with the challenges of chemotherapy and the emergence of more troublesome cancers.
Sadly that’s where the miracles end.  To borrow a golf metaphor, I am about to finish my round with a better-than-expected result and I’m heading for the clubhouse for some relief.

Not only has my family made me feel loved and cared for during this final, palliative phase of treatment, a group of friends has been quietly and selflessly showing what true mateship is.
Joined by colleagues, and even complete strangers they conspired with my wife’s consent to resurrect my British sports car under the cover of darkness and without my knowledge.
I find myself asking, why did they do it?  They all had different motivations but a constant theme – mateship.

These people from Army, Navy, Air Force, APS and the general public literally rebuilt my car with their bare hands, dipped into their pockets for loose change, used all their spare time and scoured the country (and the UK) to find the parts – and wanted nothing for it.
It is humbling.  I am lost for words.
In a race against the finish of my health battle, they beat the odds and surprised me with the keys to my Stag a couple of weeks ago.

I hope you are picking up a theme here.  We all joined the ADF to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  We put ourselves in harm’s way in order to protect our way of life, honour the Anzac tradition and make the future better for our children and future generation.
My car has become a metaphor.  Notoriously unreliable, it’s a bugger to work on, and in 1987 was the most frequently stolen car in the UK.  But now, my talented friends have turned the car from a curbside relic to a vehicle that will hold enduring sentimental value.
It’s a priceless gift to my family.  It has shown me the immense good and selflessness in our people.  I am most proud that it brought people together, and I am humbled that they did it for me.
I quietly wish there was more time to thank my friends and to enjoy the fruits of their labours.  I never thought I would see it going again.

On Sunday, November 12, I was liberated from my palliative care facility, surprised my understanding wife with a long lunch for all my mates, and drove through the streets of a quiet NSW suburb listening to the heartbeat of a 1970’s British classic V8 as I basked in the sunlight of a warm spring day with the sun on my face.  I got to share laughs with my mates, smell the aroma of burnt oil, fresh car wax and 98 octane being turned into sweet smoke as I gripped the wheel and pressed the pedal for the first and likely last time.
I smiled.  This was a good day.  This is what life is all about.  Mateship, love, compassion.

As I enter my final battle, I offer this advice; Take a positive view, not a negative one.  Be proud.  Take your holidays, spend time with your families, do something for your mates and live life.
We have a world full of amazing, compassionate people – please make sure that spirit continues.


For now, I’m heading out to tee off on a different course.





LCDR Pete Croce, Harry, MAJ Lachlan Simond and Phil Pyke on the day of his first drive. The major missing piece from this one is MAJ Dougie McGuire who spent as much time skinning his knuckles on sharp edges than Pete did.


LTCOL Harris also penned the following farewell article that is worthy of sharing...

A triumphant farewell
How a group of friends surprised a colleague with the drive of his life.

Entering the final stage of his battle with terminal cancer, Lt-Col Mike Harris was recently surprised to discover a group of friends had – under the cover of darkness with his family’s assistance – resurrected his rare 1977 Triumph Stag, which blew its engine in 2012.
The Public Relations Officer said he was lost for words at the outpouring of support from colleagues, peers and even perfect strangers to get the car back on the road for a special drive recently.
“It’s simply amazing and I am genuinely humbled to drive the car again – I honestly thought this would never happen; it looks just marvelous and sounds perfect” Lt-Col Harris said.  “Apparently they had been coming over for months without my knowledge, taking parts away to recondition and rebuild, and it is only in the last month that they finally told me what was going on because they needed to take the whole body shell away to replace the engine.  I was gob smacked.  It was not until that moment that I realised the sheer magnitude of the effort.  And when it turned up it was something special,; to drive it again was just unbelievable.”

LCDR Croce said the group had resolved to complete the vehicle after Lt-Col Harris was diagnosed with a terminal cancer.  “He told us this was his dream car and he was anxious about leaving ‘a wreck’ for his daughters.” LCDR Croce said.  “Knowing how much it meant to him and knowing how much it would cost to restore professionally, a few of us thought we would have a crack at getting it going for him.  Once his condition deteriorated, we knew we had to get cracking without keeping him in the loop.”

What followed was a lot of scouring for parts, the generosity of complete strangers, and people rallying to support a worthy project for a bloke held in high esteem across the ADF and APS.
“You learn a lot about your mates on a project like this, like who has the smallest hands, the widest vocabulary and highest resistance to second-degree burns – there is no room when you are working on it.” LCDR Croce said.

With a worldwide production run of 20,000, he said the group worried about finding the necessary parts.  In the end, two mechanics in Melbourne heard of their predicament and provided a second-hand engine at minimal cost.
Maj McGuire said the project was a challenge.  After years sitting outside, a lot of the car’s components had deteriorated.  “Both Pete and I have spent a bit of time wrestling with old cars, so it was a lovely project to be involved in.” he said.
“This is just something you do for a friend who is having a hard time.  Harry has provided a lot of us with valuable leadership, mentoring and guidance over the years.  It was only fitting that we helped out in some small way when he was in a tough situation.”

For Lt-Col Harris, the generosity of personnel across the services, APS and general public has been humbling.
“This is just a car, but it has become an example of mateship – a classic sports car that turned into a project, a group of friends gathered around a mate they care about, and a loving family.  I am humbled and proud all at the same time."
See you later
.....

Finally comes our small chapter of the story. The quilt!

Here is Harry's response....

Hello Jan-Maree, 

I am the person surrounded by the group of friends who funded and helped put my project car, a Triumph Stag, back on the road. I am in Palliative Care as my cancer takes hold of my liver and has started to control my life. As such, I was able to return home for an afternoon with my family and to enjoy an evening meal. What shocked and surprised me was a gift from your organisation that almost took my breath away. Being one of them bloke types, I'm not familiar with quilts and the detail, craftsmanship and time taken to put such an extensive artwork together. And it is art. Your members have taken concepts and put them into a fabric canvas and, in your fabulous letter, did all this in a number of days.

We owe you more than a few photographs which we will accomplish in the coming week once we can put the right people (me) in the right place.

It is not adequate but I say Thank You with all my heart and soul. The quilt is a truly touching gift and has impressed all those who have come into contact with it. So, your gift has a spiritual connection too.

Thank you.


For doing more than you may ever know




And from LCDR Peter Croce 

Thank-you once again for your amazing support for Harry and deployed personnel over the years. We are just ordinary people with extraordinary jobs. But what I have learned this year is that every day Australians have a core of gold to help out a mate when times are tough – it’s refreshing and inspiring. 
.....

I always say it is a pleasure and a privilege to coordinate Aussie Heroes and never more so than when we are able to complete request like these ones. 

I know you will all join with me in sending our very best wishes to LTCOL Mike "Harry" Harris and his family. 

Instead of my normal sign off I will end this post the way that Harry ended the video which I hope you watched above....


Really, what more is there to say.

JMxx

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Happy Mail 13th December 2017

As I drive around Coffs Harbour at night, I am delighted and amazed by the wonderland of Christmas lights that are popping up everywhere!
I hope you are finding the same in your part of our wonderful country.
So much work and expense goes into creating these displays, and then all too quickly
the Season is over and they are gone for another year.

The Blocks of the Month our incredibly generous volunteers make for Aussie Heroes' Quilts, are the result of much work and expense.  However, they don't delight for just a few weeks, but they bring comfort and joy to our Aussie Heroes who receive them for years.

T H A N K     Y O U

to every volunteer who makes them.
We value you and wish you a Merry Christmas.

If you would like to make Blocks of the Month please go here for the Tutorial

Bobbie S


Sue G

Judy D


A few sneaky ones from Jan-Maree's PO Box

Ann W




Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Grati-Tuesday 12 December


Huge, HUGE day here in Aussie Hero Headquarters. By the time you read this we will have hopefully completed a massive load of layering, quilting and binding, at the same time as a heap of packaging to be done. 


Enjoy the messages, they are what keep us going!

.....

Good evening,

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to you and your ream for the very generous gifts that have been bestowed onto Rifle Company Butterworth rotation 120.

Watching the curiosity, delight and genuine happiness that the laundry bags made when they were presented to us  by Chaplain Troy White was memorable.  Having soldiers and officers alike laugh, smile and compare notes as they worked through each postage sack to find their personal laundry bag was excellent.  The whole team is grateful for the work and effort that went into creating such artful pieces.

Please continue this service, the small things make a big difference and with the jungle training ahead, I can assure you that they will get great use.

Once again, on behalf of the contingent, I pass on my sincere gratitude.


Sincerely,


.....

Hi Ma’am,  I’m currently training on Rifle Company Butterworth 120 at RMAF Base Butterworth in Malaysia. Yesterday our entire company received a delivery of laundry bags sent by your wonderful organisation. Pictured here is myself and my mate with our brand new laundry bags 😁

It’s an incredible feeling to receive something like this while we’re overseas and I’d like to say thank you so much! It’s hard to describe the feeling of knowing the work we’re doing is supported and valued by people back home. To know that you and your team are putting in hours of work to support troops you don’t personally know is very humbling.



So from me and my brothers in arms, both here and elsewhere around the world, I’d like to offer our most sincere thanks and gratitude. Your support is invaluable ☺️



.....


We recently sent 8 quilts to the Coalition Hospital in Iraq to be used on the beds in the wards. There are 4 beds in an Aussie themed ward and another 4 in a Kiwi themed ward. The Aussie quilts were put together by the ladies who sew in Penrith using Aussie blocks sent in as Blocks of the Month (BOMs). Keryn quilted them all. 


The Kiwi themed quilts were made by Lynn and the team of ladies who sew Mystery Quilt blocks with her (want to know more about this team let me know).  Lynn's sister, Wendy, quilted them. 


They were all sent off and arrived safely as you can see. 

Below three of the four Kiwi Quilts.  One was late arriving.


And the four Aussie themed quilts.  
......

Dear Cathie,

Thank you so much for my beautiful quilt – it is absolutely gorgeous (I love the colours).
It certainly has breathed some life into my little room.

I am a civil engineer currently, but I have recently spent some time in Afghanistan conducting structural assessments.  

Competing with your labs sounds like great fun!  I am such a dog lover, going to all the dog shows can be such a good way to spend the weekend.
I have a bull terrier at home (Lulu), I can’t wait to give her a big hug!

Yourself and Aussie Hero Quilts are absolutely amazing, you bring so much happiness J

Thank you so much,
.....

Dear Cathie,

Hello from the Middle East and thank you so much for sending me a quilt, I love it!
I just want to thank you for supporting deployed members, it means a lot to know that we are being thought of and receiving these quilts sure does make your day. I’ll tell you a little about what we are doing.

I would just like to thank you very much again, the next person to receive a quilt from you will love it, mine is perfect!

Have a wonderful day,
 

.....


Dear Julie-Ann,

A short note to thank you so much for the laundry bag that is so beautifully made. It is a wonderful memento of my time in HMAS DARWIN and I will treasure it.

I have just returned home to Perth after celebrating DARWIN’s last entry into Sydney Harbour. I was her fifteenth Commanding Officer from 2005-2007. I think you would appreciate that a final trip in the ship was very nostalgic and a wonderful wander down memory lane.

Thank you so very much again for your wonderful service to AHQ. You all make such a difference to our deployed personnel and you are appreciated probably more than you know. I wish you and your family the very best for the future.


Yours sincerely,
.....

Hi Lisa R
Thank you so much for your efforts.I absolutely love my quilt, the patterns on both sides are lovely and bright; and the shell and wave pattern in the stitching are beautiful details. My step mum has recently taken up quilting after years of being a knitter and she explained to me the process of creating a quilt so I really appreciate the work that you put in. I will definitely show it to her so she can share it with her fellow quilters and her long-arm stitcher. Everyone here has a huge amount of appreciation for the work that you and the Aussie Hero Quilters do for us so please keep up the amazing work!
thank you again 
.....


Hi Beverley,

Thank you so very much for the quilt and laundry bag, you captured the Aussie bush and native animals very well, and as your letter indicates, you obviously put some considered thought into the design.
These are some of the things I miss most when away from home, and typically the greatest difference between wherever I am in the world and home, so a reminder that I can carry with me is very welcome (and practical).

I have served in the Navy for almost 25 years now and like your husband I have had the opportunity to travel extensively.  However I suspect that my experience of port visits in Vietnam has been markedly different.
I have certainly enjoyed the travel and experiences, I have done things that very few people in the world get the chance to do (fire missiles, control 100+ aircraft in a mock battle in the South China Sea) and have loved it.  That said, I must confess that the time away from home now drags a lot more.  

I wish you and your family all the best, and again thank you very much for your kind gift of the quilt and laundry bag.  I can promise you that they are much appreciated and will be well used.

Yours sincerely,

.....

Hi Jean,

Thank you very much for the Laundry Bag, it is absolutely perfect! It made my day when we were receiving mail. I too, am one of the quilters for Aussie Hero Quilts, have only done one AHQ so far due to my various jobs, but am definitely hoping to be able to do more when I finish my posting to the ship.  It is lovely receiving something and seeing what design someone else came up with and knowing how much effort goes into it.  I will send though a photo to you, once we have had a change to upload some to the system.


Thanks again and take care.
.....

Received a great photo of this quilt made by Caroline L 

.....

Good Evening Jean

Thank you very much for sending the laundry bag and arranging for the Quilt. The laundry bag will prove most useful when away from home. Excellent choice of colours and patterns. I love it.

How good is it to have a RAEME bag and quilt? It hangs proudly on my wall. It almost seems disrespectful to use it for its intended purpose. Its worthy of a frame.

You won’t believe me when I say my brother and sister are deployed too which has Mum absolutely sick to the stomach.  We all deployed within a month of each other, and I’ll be the first to return to Australia in late February. One positive thing about working 8-12 hours a day is time absolutely flies. I’ll be home before you know it. 

This is quite something. From being the first one to join the Army in my family we now have four. Dad was a Chef, now a handyman in Cairns where he runs his own successful business. Mum would never have expected three of her children to join the Army. Most recently in AMAB, Kimberley organised a photo opportunity through her chain of command. We were interviewed and photographed all morning. I'm expecting front page coverage in the Army or RAAF magazine or something. I await with baited breath. 

Keep doing what you do. It goes a long way to improving the morale among the troops. 

Thank you and best regards
.....


Just wanted to say a Big Thank you To Pennie for my amazing quilt. The work she put into it is absolutely beautiful. It brightens my room. So many people have commented on it. It is my personality to a tee. I am absolutely in love with it. It was also my very first parcel so made it even more special...Thank you Jean Marie and especially to Pennie for her wonderful work and lovely letter and box of goodies. You guys do an amazing job and I know we are so appreciative of your commitment to the deployed and their families.


Hugs


.....

Hi Olivia,

Firstly, thank you very much for your time, effort and great attention to detail, not to mention your fantastic sewing skills and great note. I am now the very proud owner of a beautiful laundry bag that you made possible for me through Aussie Hero Quilts (AHQ), and in this case presented to me onboard HMAS Darwin by her final Commanding Officer, CMDR Phillip Henry.

Secondly, this great opportunity to be presented with your laundry bag has come about through my long standing affiliation with HMAS Darwin. I served on Darwin as a Midshipman under training in 1996, and then as the Executive Officer (XO) between Jan 2010 and Dec 2011, then more recently numerous sea-rides as the Fleet Executive Officer (FXO) between Nov 2013 and Dec 2015 and even more recently sea riding in Darwin for a few days where CMDR Phillip Henry presented me with your quilt.

Sadly HMAS Darwin will now decommission this Sat 09 Dec 17 after sailing more than 1.2 million nautical miles over the oceans and many parts of the world. I will pride your significant tribute to me as a serving member of 27 years with over 17 of those years spent at sea.

I will reflect on the truly great work that Aussie Hero Quilts does for thousands of serving members, which you are obviously very proud to be a part of. This significant effort by yourself and AHQ is greatly appreciated by all serving personnel and certainly makes a valuable difference to those who serve and in particular during times of need.

Please stay in touch with your relatives who serve, that is very important to all who serve during long deployments and time away from family and loved ones.

Finally, keep up the great work and thank you for your ongoing support and your personal well wishes to me on my continued voyages in the Navy.   

Cheers,
.....


Dear Bridget,

The fantastic quilt that you made arrived here in the Sinai today.  I'm very happy with it, and impressed with the work you've done. 

I'm currently on my fifth deployment, and the fourth as a peacekeeper.  The emblems on the quilt are of all four peacekeeping missions I've done. The quilt is a great momento that captures the operational milestones of my career. I realise that I'd asked more than might be usual for the design of the quilts, and I'm very glad you were able to produce it.  I appreciate the effort that went into it. 


After 25 years in the army, I think that this 12 month trip might be my last.  I have two young sons at home, and must put their welfare and stability first. Because this trip is likely to be my farewell tour, the quilt really means a lot to me and the effort you have put in is very heartening. It will remain a prized possession. 
.....

Hey Joan Mac,

Thank you so much for your wonderful Sapper Bag. It's perfect!

I really enjoyed seeing the Tonka trucks incorporated into the bag. It put a massive smile on my face. I hope the earthworks on you dams has gone well. We have very similar machines as your contractor. 


A little about me, I was born in Newcastle NSW. I grew up there and when I finished school I decided to join the Army. I went to ADFA and studied Civil Engineering. I completed my training at the Royal Military College in 2009. I'm a Major in the Corps of the Royal Australian Engineers. I've been in the Army almost 13 years now. 


All of my time has been spent building things. I like the fact that Army sends me around the world to build things for the less fortunate. I have done a lot of humanitarian construction throughout the South Pacific. I have been lucky enough to build schools, community centres, fresh water supplies, first aid clinics, and much more in Tonga, Vanuatu, PNG, East Timor and the Federated States of Micronesia. 

I have also spend a lot of time working in Indigenous communities in Australia building housing. I spent two years living in Lae, PNG working with their Army Engineers teaching them and acting as a mentor for their staff in 2013-14. Which was a lot of fun and a massive adventure! Since then I have deployed twice to the Middle East. 

I'm now about half way into my second trip. I'm in command of a team of engineers who have projects in the all over the Middle East. We are very busy but the work is great and I feel as though we are helping to improve these countries, especially Afghanistan and Iraq. And that's me as a soldier. On a more personal level, I'm 31 and I live in Sydney.

I have attached a photo of me and my Sapper Bag. Thanks again for going to the time and effort to make this for me. It does mean a lot!

I wish you and your family all the best.


Regards, 




.....

Hey Jean 

I am currently serving in the Australian Army in Afghanistan. I just wanted to thank you for the Jimi Hendrix laundry bag you made for me,  I can't tell you how much that made my day here. What made it even better was the fact I got it on what would have been Jimi Hendrixs birthday! 
It is one of the coolest present I have ever received.

I'm 23 years old and have always wanted to be a soldier since I was a little kid. I'm proud I get to serve my country in some small way.

I have 3 months left on my tour here and I cant wait to get home to see my family and friends again, me and the rest of the boys cant thank you and the team who make these special gifts for us, it makes being away from home worth it. 

Thanks again 


 .....

Hi Melissa,
I just received the quilt.  It is awesome, I love the pattern on the back and the spiderman will add much needed colour to my room.


I am sure that my 6 year old son will try and claim it when I get home.

I am currently deployed as part of the Communications Group in the Middle East.


We are around the half way mark of our trip and all looking forward to the home stretch.

Thanks Heaps for the Quilt and from all the soldiers deployed thank for yours and your daughter's time.

It is great to receive items that so much time and effort have been put into making.
 Thanks
.....


Dear Sue N

I am writing to thank you so much for the quilt/laundry bag and all the little things inside. Your kindness is much appreciated and both the quilt and laundry bag are just beautiful! I can’t wait to show my mum a picture of it, she would love it too.

We have been quite busy on our deployment and as the mail takes so long to arrive anywhere so I decided I would send you an email rather than a letter to thank you.

Christmas will be spent with my sea family (hopefully with a lot of seafood too) which will definitely make up for not being able to be home with my family. We even have a couple of Secret Santa programs going which will be fun and perhaps will be able to play some sort of cricket on the flight deck (not with a real cricket ball or tennis ball though for fear of losing it over the side). Hopefully the weather is nice.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you some insight into my life right now and how much use the quilt and laundry bag are getting.

I hope your Christmas and New Year is filled with joy, as well as your family. I hope it is a lovely sunny day for you too!

Thank you again for all of your support J

Kind Regards,

.....


Hello Jean,

Sorry for the late reply, our deployment is finally over.

I want to say thank you so much for the lovely laundry bag you made for me whilst I was onboard HMAS Newcastle.

When I received it, I felt really grateful, I especially liked the colour scheme and your design.

I hope you and your family have a safe and wonderful Christmas.


Thanks again. 
.....

Hi Kathy,

I wanted to say thank you so much for the lovely quilt you made for me whilst I was on operation in the Middle East.

I really liked the design and the colour scheme, its going to be a treat when its winter again and I will definitely make the most out of it.

I also want to wish you and your family a safe and wonderful Christmas, thanks again!

Kind Regards,

.....

Dear Bridget.

I have been blessed to receive a quilt crafted by
yourself. I have been with the Army for 18 years, having served as both a soldier and officer
across a variety of appointments. 

But back to the quilt. I’ll be honest, I had some reservations about what I would receive
after putting in my request the other month. But I can assure you, I was more than
impressed with the magnificent quilt that I received yesterday. It has all the detail that I
wanted and I couldn’t be happier with what I have received.

I want to thank you personally for the blessing you have been to me, the way you continue
to use your God given gifts to serve our soldiers here on operations. As I walk around the
accommodation area, soldiers have continually commented on the impressive work that
yourself, Jan-Maree and the small army of volunteers have undertaken. The quality, detail
and intricacy of each quilt and laundry bag is astounding and it lets us know just how much
people like yourself back home appreciate our service, whilst being separated from family
and friends back home.

May I commend you for your service, love of craft and using your gifts to serve others – it is
truly appreciated more than you could imagine.


......

G'day Jan-Maree,

Thank you so much for the quilt and laundry bag. I understand that it may have been a challenging concept to achieve, being both Bunnings and sausages. I was so amazed and humbled at what was provided, and I thank you and Bridget for the effort involved, especially getting us a few extra goodies from Bunnings itself.

We are a tight knit crew here, and we have to be to get us through that lonely Christmas period without our families. Things like the Quilts you provide really help us feel connected back to Australia. 

I am married with one 13 year old daughter. My family is coping well now they have a routine in place, but there are difficult days.

I have attached a few photos of myself and the goodies you have sent, and am happy for you to use them for whatever purpose you you would like to.

I hope you and your family have a merry Christmas.




.....

Hello Caitlin


I am 33 years old and serve as a Rifleman in the Australian Army. I am currently on deployment in Malaysia.  Thank you so much for your lovely laundry bag!   It is absolutely beautiful and I've taken great pride in showing it off to all the boys and girls here because it is by far the best one!!!


There are over a hundred of us here, and we are a long way from home.  It means a great deal to all of us here to know that you are thinking of us, Caitlin.  Your letter and your hard work brings a smile to all of us. 


I hope everything in your life is jolly and well. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your Mum and thank you again.


Wishing you the very best in life.


Cailtin (aged 9) and the Laundry Bag she made.




.....
Dear Clarissa

I am the lucky recipient of the quilt you made earlier this year.  I wish to convey to you how pleased I am with the quilt; it’s beautiful, and much better than I’d hoped for.

I’m deployed at our Headquarters in the Middle East.  My job requires travel throughout the region to ensure Air Force operations are running smoothly, and to assist wherever I can to improve the operational effectiveness.  It’s a busy job, and a rewarding one.

This is my third deployment to the Middle Ease (and my most comfortable).  I’ve previously deployed to Afghanistan where conditions are austere and the weather even more extreme than the usual middle-east hot days and cool nights.  I received your quilt a month ago, but I was going through a rough patch of work at the time, so I elected to hold off opening the box until I was ready.  I’m glad I did!  Your quilt lifted my spirits and was a source of much discussion around my accommodation block when I was showing it off.

I was glad to hear you’re a Brumbies fan – it’s been a tough year for us though!  I was also glad to hear that your son had just returned from being deployed, I’m approaching my own return to Australia and my excitement is growing at the prospect of reuniting with my own family.

I thank you for your substantial contribution of time and skill towards the welfare of those of us fortunate enough to deploy and serve our county.  I wish you well……
You’re an inspiration to us, thanks for your wonderful gift.


Kindest regards,
.....

Dear Clarissa,

Many thanks for the recently received laundry bag, it now takes pride of place in my bed space and will ensure that my laundry items clearly and proudly stand out amongst the rest.  I opened the parcel amongst my work colleagues and they all commented on how unique and lovely it was, thankfully you placed my initials on it, otherwise I believe I may have had to introduce a security plan to maintain ownership!  I did share out the sweets which were also very much appreciated, thank you very much.

On a more serious note, the skill and effort employed by you and your fellow members of the Aussie Hero Quilters is nothing short of amazing.  The support your group provides to all deployed personnel is outstanding.  It is difficult to articulate how much it means to us all here, but please be assured that each and every one of us really do appreciate your very kind skillfully crafted gifts.  It’s really humbling to know that what we do when deployed is recognised and so well supported by people like you Clarissa, it makes a significant difference and helps in managing the separation from our loved ones.  Plus, what you all create enables us to turn a rather drab, depressing and often cramped living space into a bright and much more pleasant environment.

Once again, I thank you for your very kind gift and best wishes.  I also wish you and your family all the best for the remainder of the year and into the next, I hope you all have a lovely and peaceful Christmas.

Cheers to you, I’ll raise a beer (we’re allowed three) on Christmas Day to you all.

Kind regards,
.....


Fran,

Thank you for the quilt and hope this finds you and family well.

The soldiers deployed within the MEAO appreciate the work that Aussie Hero Quilts do.  This being my seventh deployment (hoping my last) I thought that a quilt would be something to remember this by.

Weather here is still quite warm but cooler nights (about to get colder).

Thank you again.  
.....


Good Morning Di,
           
            I have just returned from my mid deployment break (two weeks in Europe with my wife) and I had a package waiting for me.
           
            It was you beautifully made quilt. I am very thankful for you kind gift.
           
            The two themes that I asked for were Star Wars and Voltron. To give you the background of these two requests, they are two things that I loved as young boy and my son now loves those two things.
           
            So while I am over here I can look at it and think of my son.
           
            Once again thank you very much, they mean a lot to us while deployed.

           .....

A thank you for one of the random LBs we have sent over

Hey guys! I’d just like to say thanks for the laundry bag I received! I’m extremely appreciative of the gift and the work you do! I use the bag everyday and it will come in handy for the rest of my time here in Iraq. Thanks again, and keep up the great work
......

Recently we sent off ten quilts to be used on  Intenstive Care beds and today we received these pics and message
..........

A heart felt thanks to Jan-Maree & her extremely talented quilters who have kindly donated 10 Aussie Hero Quilts to the Role 2 Hospital HKIA for use by ICU patients. The quilts were officially presented to the Role 2 Hospital Commander today & the Aussie health team were keen to show off the amazing quilts. Thank you once again Jan-Maree & your wonderful team 








Phew as you can see by the messages above, we have all been pretty busy. have to get back to it now.


Have a great night.


Till next time keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx