Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Grati-Tuesday 16 Jun 20 : COVID-19 Assist special

Hi everyone,

A special addition of Grati-Tuesday hot off the press today!

 We have been receiving lots of special letters from those members deployed with Operation COVID-19 Assist and thought it nice to consolidate them in to one post.

You will see in some of the correspondence, a few recipients have been deployed this year to not only COVID -19 but also Bushfire Assist so it been a big year for our Reservists. You will see that years of service vary from 1 year to 41 years and they loved getting their Laundry Bags which is rewarding to see.

Enjoy reading.

 A selection of some of the collection sent. 
 
.......

Dear Aussie Heroes ladies,

I am writing this letter in appreciation for the laundry bags you’ve lovingly made and sent to me. It has been such an amazing privilege to hand them out to our Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen and Airwomen who are working to protect our community from the COVID-19 virus. I was going to write to each of you individually, but there are about fifty of you, so I hope you don’t mind this letter.

I want to thank you so much for the notes and best wishes you’ve sent both to me personally and to those who are receiving these laundry bags. I assure them of the love that comes with each bag and the notes you’ve included are special. I have encouraged photos and notes be sent to you. I have found everyone who joins the defence force does so to serve the community and expect nothing in return, so this is a wonderful surprise for each of them.

If I may give you a bit of background, I have been a Presbyterian minister since 1986, having served in NSW. I have been a chaplain in the army for ten years now working out of Holsworthy and love working among our young men and women in the Army. My wife works with Lifeline and we’re blessed with four children and ten grandchildren (with another due early in June).

This year we have dealt with the bushfires and before it was over, at the 12th February the Defence Force in NSW had delivered over 1.6 million litres of water, 12,500 litres of fuel for communities, 23,100 meals, 596,500 kgs of animal fodder, cleared 3,300kms of roads, repaired 491 kms of fencing and provided pastoral care to 4884 people. It was an amazing effort and built a wonderful rapport with rural and coastal as well as some isolated ‘alternate lifestyle’ communities. Our soldiers who were spending long days on chain saws and doing other work were very tired.

When Jan-Maree contacted me about the offer of laundry bags, I couldn’t believe you were able to provide 600. We have been distributing them through our chaplains and others to those working on the front lines in motels, the ports and airport. I have also had the privilege of giving them to those who are starting this work and they love receiving a bag which is uniquely theirs. Some of those who are older are astounded by your generosity because they’ve never been given anything like this before and while they don’t look for recognition, are astounded by this gift you’ve given them. The notes are especially welcome. I will be helping to prepare 100 Air Force personnel at Williamtown Air Base next week and that will exhaust the bags I have on hand.

Your messages of love have been humbling and you take me back to my mother who told me when she was a child, she knitted socks for soldiers during World War 2. I’ve heard several stories of those deployed receiving quilts and laundry bags and how much they’ve meant to them. Some of those who have received bags through me have asked if there is a very specific pattern which they’ve been able to find - one an Aboriginal soldier who had a bag with indigenous print on it, one who is a Star Wars fanatic, a farmer who had one with farm animals, one who loves dogs with dog prints and cats with cat prints and so on. They’re all so wonderfully unique.

Thanks again for all you are doing. Your efforts are profoundly appreciated.

Yours’ faithfully.
.....

Hi guys
Just wanted to send you a quick email and thank you for all the effort you have put in, and that I love my new laundry bag 😀

 I’m an Army reservist and been serving with the COVID taskforce on the regional checkpoints in Western Australia. I’ve been on a previous deployment with border protection before and happy to serve the country.
But it really warmed my heart to receive your laundry bag today and knowing that other people out there are thinking of the people serving the nation, and how much they are willing to go out of their way to help in any capacity.

I can promise that it will not go to waste and I’ll be using it every day from now on. Aussie Heroes, and the work that you do is appreciated by everyone, and I wish you could have seen the smiles on the faces of the rest of the diggers who also received theirs today.
I got your note with the laundry bag, and realise you are all friends from Vic. Even though I’m from W.A., I support Carlton, but the Cats are definitely my second team.

Anyway, thank you again for all your efforts, from myself and the rest of the diggers. It means a huge amount to us, and is definitely a huge morale boost knowing there are people like you guys thinking of us throughout our duty.

Thanks again,
.......

Good morning Rita,

 I’m currently serving on HMAS Diamantina. I joined the Navy 2011 as a Technician and spent almost two years in training and also specialising in my career.

In my time in the navy I’ve had many opportunities and the ability to meet some amazing people and even though I have not met you the work that Aussie Hero Quilts is doing is truly great.

Thank you for your kind donations to me and my colleagues, it is greatly appreciated. It will be a nice reminder whenever I’m away on a deployment of the people back home that appreciate what we do.

Best regards,
 ......

Hello Rita,

First of all I would like to sincerely thank you for the laundry bag, receiving this gift definitely put a smile on my face considering my favourite colour is green!

I am 24 years old and originally from NSW, currently based here on board HMAS Diamantina, so the laundry bag will do so well for me at sea! I joined the ADF in 2017 as a Systems Operator. Last year I went away for my first overseas deployment and there weren’t many sentimental things I had that I took along with me so it definitely felt lonely at times, but I feel having this laundry bag is going to help me in future deployments knowing that people are always thinking of us back home, so I thank you from myself, and all of the people who have received laundry bags from you. I am not too sure how much longer my current involvement with COVID-19 will be for, but I am taking it day by day, knowing that I’m helping in one way or another keeps me going.

Your family sounds like a very successful bunch, and I cannot believe some of the accomplishments they have achieved! Hopefully one day I will be able to say I have achieved that much, and I look forward to seeing if my career in the ADF takes me down some of those avenues and what doors it will open for me!

I would to again thank you very much for the laundry bag, and I would like to wish you and your family all the safety during this time.

Regards,
.......

Hi Rita,

It was very nice to hear from you and I appreciate the thought that went into the LB and your letter. I have been in the Navy for just under 2 years and I am in the position as a systems operator sailor.

It sounds like your daughters are very talented and you should be very proud.

My involvement end date with the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown as yet but the sooner the better as it will mean things are improving around the world, it has been a very tough time for everyone.

Would just like to thank you for thinking of us in this hard time and I appreciate very much what you have sewn for us.

Thanks,

...... 

Dear Rita,

Words cannot express the joy I had at receiving your beautiful Laundry Bag from my command chain. I have always felt a twinge of jealousy and longing when I saw others with theirs, but now I am the proud owner of my own personal Aussie Hero Quilts Laundry Bag all thanks to your generosity and creativity.

I am a Petty Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. I have served with the RAN for 12 years now within the role of Mine Warfare. My job is my passion and my commitment has taken me to places I never thought I would venture in my life. My current posting is to HMAS Diamantina, however, right now I am away from my ship and am assigned to OP COVID-19 Assist.

Reading your letter helped me to connect with you and for that I thank you. Also please thank your grandson for me because elephants are my absolute favourite animal! To receive such a wonderful gift with a letter gives me the ability to tell you how appreciated the time and effort you put into making this bag for me is.

Australia as a whole nation has suffered over the last 7 months and continues to do so. We have survived catastrophic fires, devastating floods and are now faced with a pandemic. We are living blindly through unprecedented times, however the true blue Aussie spirit is as strong as ever. We have done everything from making a cuppa for someone who needed it to opening homes, wallets and hearts. We as a nation will survive.

Often the ADF assistance to civilian aid is under-represented. We don’t do this job for the glory of wearing a uniform, but receiving your gift was a reminder that we are not forgotten. Often we are thanked on ANZAC Day for our service, and this year I believe the true meaning behind the day was reinforced. If you stood on your driveway at dawn then thank you! Thank you for any small part you played in the national remembering of why we wear our uniform and just how strong the ANZAC spirit is.

As I was writing this I read Jan-Maree’s post about her tough news. I do not pretend to understand what she is currently going through but my heart and those of my sailors go out to her. She is not alone in this fight, as a veteran she will never be alone.

So finally, thank you. A plain and simple thank you from a plain and simple sailor.

With humble gratitude,

........

G'day Ellen

Firstly thank-you for the hand made bag, it will get plenty of use as I may be going away with the army again later this year.

Even after I leave the ADF this bag will have a treasured place amongst my collection in my military museum in the Wheat-belt W.A, it will be displayed with other comfort initiates sent from home to ADF members like YMCA, ACF and Salvation army bags I have in my collection.

Cheers,

.....

Hi Joy,

On behalf of the Commander of Task Group West, BRIG Peter Moore and myself, thank you very much for your fantastic work in sending the 10 Laundry Bags over to the west to support the soldiers and sailors who are doing a great job working with the police and the State Government in containing the virus.

It is a stressful time for many and the presence of the ADF members is very reassuring  in these times. We have a new contingent who will be moving out into the country north of Perth soon. During the uplift the soldiers will be properly farewelled and presented with their Laundry Bag from their Friends at AHQ..

They will have my encouragement to write to you to as soon as they are able.

Again thanks for your support and your encouragement.

Kindest regards
........

Hi Ellen,

On behalf of the Commander of Task Group West and myself, thank you very much for your fantastic work in sending the Laundry Bags over to the west to support the soldiers and sailors who are doing a great job working with the police and the State Government in containing the virus.

It is a stressful time for many and the presence of the ADF members is very reassuring  in these times. As the Defence support is diminishing, a number of our soldiers are being demounted and will be heading back to their civilian employment. In many of their cases it is after serving continuously for the last seven weeks. During their demounting processes they will be offered their bag and early indication are that they are very much looking forward to being presented their Laundry Bag from their Friends at AHQ.

They will have my encouragement to write to you to as soon as they are able.

Again thanks for your support and your encouragement.


Kindest regards,

......

Afternoon Diann,

I am writing to send my appreciation for the laundry bag you made for our soldiers, I read your letter. As an ex-service member yourself I am sure you can appreciate the hard work the soldiers and sailors are currently producing, we are all humbled by these gifts. The purpose for which this organisation was established is incredibly noble and hope the organisation continues.

I have the purple bag with square quilts in the middle, it’s fantastic!!

We currently have a large number soldiers and sailors posted on checkpoints around the state. Fortunately from tonight the one around the Perth Metro area will be collapsed in accordance with the WA Premiers relaxing of COVID restrictions.

We just sent a contingent of soldiers to the Midwest for establishing new intrastate borders. All the bags from the Aussie Hero Quilts association were distributed to the soldiers and will be of much use in the Midwest deployment.

Once again thank you for your kind gift.

Kind regards

.....

Dear Helen, 

 I am the very lucky recipient of your amazing laundry bag. The big kangaroo on the front is what drew me to it, a very touching image.

I have served in the Navy for nearly 9 years, this has taken me all around the world on various exercises and deployments. I was fortunate enough to receive a quilt in 2016 on my Middle East trip. I toured on HMAS Darwin which was the sister ship to HMAS Newcastle, the one that you toured on. I am glad you have been able to visit the many ships we have within the Navy, I have also visited a submarine and share the same thoughts as you.

 

In such an uncertain world this was truly an amazing gift and a surprise when I arrived for work yesterday. It’s so reassuring to see the public continuing to support the ADF and New South Wales emergency services. I hope we as a country can overcome this adversity in the near future, to allow us to return to somewhat of a normal life, I have no doubt you must be ready to venture out of your house and visit your family and friends, just like myself.

 Thank you so much for your time and just service as well Helen, it means the world to service men and women.

 Many thanks,

 .....

Dear Helen,

 I have recently received one of your excellent laundry bags. Thank you for your efforts and time you contribute to provide these extremely useful and thoughtful gifts.

 Rest assured they do get put to good use, having done previous deployments where laundry is an issue.. These bags certainly do help.

 I am part of the Australian army currently task with supporting the Covid pandemic. It is a strange time for all of us and I hope you are faring well during it.

 The difficulty over the past few months will end eventually and we will all get through the other side. We are all doing our part together to fight this strange virus and its support from people like yourself that contribute the most.

 So again Helen, I thank you for thinking about our services and troops and for the great morale boost that these bags bring us.

 Have a lovely day.

 ....

To Helen,

 Thank you very much for the laundry bag, it is greatly appreciated as is the time and effort that you put into making it. It is nice to know that through all the challenges that we face, whether at home or abroad, there are individuals and groups that care about the well-being of our service men and women.

 Thank you for your continued support during this time of uncertainty. Due to being deployed in Malaysia for training then continuing on to assist with the bushfire clean-up and now helping with Covid, I have not had much time to spend with my wife and dog so to receive a laundry bag and know that others are thinking of us is greatly appreciated as it helps to brighten up my area.

 I hope that you and your family continue to stay safe in these times and thank you again for your continued support.

 Best wishes.  

 .....


Dear Heather,


You are marvelous! 


Thank you so much for the fabulous laundry bag. I am currently deployed in Sydney working with a truly Joint Company with Army Navy and Air Force. Rest assured these young Australians are doing a magnificent job for the whole country. We have seen over 21,000 people come through Sydney Airport and into quarantine. These young men and women have won praise at every point from everyone involved.

 

With people like you supporting us, Heather, I am very proud to say I am an Australian soldier serving folk like you.

 

Warm regards

...


Dear Ellen,

 

I am currently deployed on Operation Covid-19 Assist in Western Australia where we are providing aid and planning to the civilian authorities. Upon joining the operation, I received one your laundry bags. I very impressed with the excellent quality of the bag you had made. I expect it will last for many years and I just wanted to send a small token of thanks to you to let you know your hard work and sentiments of support are greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

.....

Dear Chris,

 

Today while I was working with the Covid-19 Task Force I was handed one of the Aussie Hero Quilts Pillow Case Laundry Bags. Inside was a letter from you telling me all about your extended family, love of sports and your terrific support to the local community.

 

The Laundry Bag you have made is terrific and will be used. Next month I celebrate 41 years Navy service and I have never received a more personal and positive gift than the handcrafted Bag you have made, thank you very much.

 

I am coming to the end of a two year posting in NSW. Over the last two years I have spent most of my time at sea supporting ship deployments to South East Asia and the Indian Ocean. I took part in Fleet Exercises with the French, Japanese, South Korean and United States Navies, from the coast of India to the Sea of Japan. There was no rest over the end of year break with support to local communities for Bushfire Assist 19/20 and providing disaster relief from HMAS Adelaide.

 

Many thanks again for the Laundry Bag. It will travel with me as I move around the region. When I am doing my washing and anyone asks about my bag I will ensure I mention Aussie Hero Quilts and the wonderful Chris who crafted my colorful wash bag.

 

All the best to you and your family.

 

Cheers,


...


Hello Jenny,

 

I hope this email finds you well and excited for the continuing loosing of restrictions, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your letter and the laundry bag. Up until now, I had been using a rubbish bag for my laundry, so it's nice to have your handmade masterpiece to use now. I’m just as grateful for the words you shared with the bag, it's been great reading them, I think about you and your gestures made in your letter at the end of every day when I use the bag.

 

I’m currently tasked in OP COVID19 Assist in Sydney as part of Joint Task Force 629 specifically in Hotel Quarantine Enforcement and associated support tasks.  I wanted to wait until I was well into the deployment before I wrote you, as only now do I have a good exposure to the taskings. It's been a surprisingly challenging deployment so far, but not in the traditional sense one would come to think of when you are exposed to army deployments. It's been also surprisingly rewarding being able to help, after hearing of the hardships of the persons in quarantine when fighting to get back to Australia. It makes me feel incredibly fortunate to be in a position to be able to help and support them through their last couple of weeks of isolation before they get to go home.

 

You likely know better than anyone considering your employment you mentioned, how different people are, and how much their personal stories can differ. Being confined in a room for two weeks for some is a blessing, and others a nightmare – and it makes me incredibly proud of my country when I see much collective effort and sacrifice made to ensure these people are looked after, along with as a by-product, protecting the wider community. I hope the lens of history doesn’t focus too heavily on the financial impact of this pandemic, while immense, I do hope that the good that has been done also shares the same spotlight.

 

I too come from a long line of Military Serving family members, I’m welsh, and pretty much every branch of both my mothers and fathers' family have served in defence for as long as we can trace back. I’m relatively junior in my defence career, but with the recent Bushfires and now COVID – I’m curious on how the tempo of my service will change over the coming years.

 

Thanks again for your kind words,

 

Warm Regards,


....

Afternoon Jenny,

 

Thank you very much for your continued support to Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags) as well as your hard work in our Healthcare system as a Registered Nurse.

 

I am Lance Bombardier Hill from 9 Regiment RAA. I am deployed on OP Covid-19 Assist in Sydney working side by side with RAAF, Navy and local Police. This is not the first time this year we I have worked closely with our counterparts, having been deployed on Operation Bushfire Assist earlier this year for 2 months. It has been a very full on start to 2020. 

 

Your efforts are greatly appreciated, myself and my colleagues have all received laundry bags as part of working on OPC19A. They have been a great morale boost and are already being put to use.

 

Stay safe and I wish you, your Family and Friends the same.

 

Regards,


....

Hi Ann,

I work with the New South Wales Police Force. My husband  is in the Army Reserves and we have a son  who is 14 months old.

 I have been working on the Covid Operation since the beginning of the pandemic, working closely with the ADF as an ADF liaison officer. My husband missed out on this operation as he had to look after our son, but he had the opportunity to do the bush-fire deployment. A bit of a juggling act as you can imagine.

 I was given one of your lovely wash bags. It is beautiful. I would like to thank you personally for your amazing time and effort in making the bags. You are very skilled.

 I have been watching the bags be distributed to the troops and they have all been overwhelmed with your and the other volunteers‘ kindness.

I’ve also attached a funny photo of my offsider, who was gifted a very appropriate donut bag (I’m not sure who made it though).

 It’s amazing to think there are such kind hearted people out there thinking of us.

 Kind regards,



Hi Jan-Maree,

 

I recently had a soldier come and ask me to pass on a big thank-you to one of the people who sewed a laundry bag for our soldiers. My soldier didn’t think he had the right words so I got to send the thanks. That was to Joanne.

 

Since then, I asked the lads if any of them still had letters and I got a few responses.

 

Whilst I know that it would be hard to send a “Thanks” to everyone, some names that the lads sent to me were Sue, The Gowrie Girls, Bev, Claire, Carol, Bronwyn, Chris and Melissa. I imagine there are many others involved in the Aussie Hero Quilt endeavor, but as a general encouragement to you and your extensive team, the bags and quilts have been extremely popular and the letters have, in some cases at least, ended up on fridges or folders as a reminder that people out in general society are behind the ADF and appreciate the times we can help.

 

Thanks from me, too.

 

Regards,


...


Good Morning Janelle and Craig

I was given one of your laundry bags and I just wanted to thank you for it. I’ll hang on to it (assuming nobody is going to ask for it back that I’m unaware of!) and use it in the future next time I’m on an operation. It really has made it easy to find my washing and it’s truly one of a kind!

Your hometown looks beautiful and I’d never heard of it before your letter, I hope I get to see it in person one day. 

Thank you for including me in your prayers and know that you and your family have been in mine while I’ve been away as well. I don’t know if you get many thanks from people who receive laundry bags but I wanted to tell you how much the bag and your letter moved me and how grateful I am for the work you do.

Take care and thank you again. Your care and gratitude have made a big difference to me.

Kind Regards
...


Hi Jenny

 

Thank you so much for the lovely laundry bag. It really did make my week, and I know those of my colleagues who also received a bag. Thank you also for your words of support and encouragement. The program does such amazing work and I feel very privileged to have received your warm wishes, especially given your own many years of service to the ADF.

 

From the point of view of the Op, the tempo certainly is reducing with each week though, as you would know, we must all remain vigilant against any spikes that may call us all back to full speed. Rest assured that the planning that has gone into this Op (as with all ADF ops) has been very well thought through to deliver the capability that we will need if that event arises (which we, of course, hope that it will not).

 

Though, for the time being, I just wanted to send you my thanks and wish you and your loved ones the very best. Again, it is a marvelous program you are involved in and it is spreading a great deal of warmth among those serving (and their families). You and all the volunteers and doing incredibly selfless acts each day and are equally serving of praise. 

 

Best regards


.....


We will return you to your regularly scheduled program next week, till then!

Kylie

2 comments:

  1. What wonderful letters - laundry bags give a double blessing - to the recipient and the maker.

    ReplyDelete