Monday, 7 September 2020

Grati-Tuesday 8 September

                                             Wow! Another great week full of special messages and thank you's. There are some marking really special milestones, some first deployments, some from local operations and others from our deployed service personnel a long way from home.

One thing is for sure, the effort, time and love you have put into these beautiful laundry bags and quilts are a great boost during this crazy time. Enjoy the read friends, and remember, keep sharing the word, and happy stitching! 

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From the Facebook Page; 

Today marks 37 years since Captain Christine Clarke, Australian Defence Advisor and Attache to New Zealand, joined the Royal Australian Navy. High Commission staff this morning celebrated Captain Clarke's 'Navy Birthday' over morning tea. It was also an opportunity for Captain Clarke to show off the quilt she was recently honoured to receive from the amazing folks at Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags. 

Since 2012, Aussie Hero Quilts volunteers have made over 12,000 quilts for Australia's deployed service personnel. The privilege of receiving a quilt was recently extended to those who have served for a long time, but who have not had the opportunity to deploy. 

Congratulations Captain Clarke!

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Good Afternoon Toni,

I have received my beautiful laundry bag. It turned out even better than I could have imagined. I can't express enough my thanks to you for making it for me - I truly will treasure it forever.

I hope the Australian winter is being kind to you this year. Being cold is a distant memory for me, we are currently experiencing 50+ degree days over here, and the taps don't have cold water. The first thing I want to do when I get home is to have a cold shower!

This is my first deployment, and so far I have loved every challenge, every person, and every day. I work in Administration, and feel so privileged to be in a position where I get to help people that need it.

I had the privilege of meeting Jan-Maree last year when she came to a Dinner Night at our RAAF base, and I said to her I felt star struck talking to her. The work you all do means more to us over here than you could possibly imagine. One of the highlights of being here is watching people receive their quilt and laundry bags. The excitement, the photos and the sharing of stories behind them, is the biggest morale boost for us.

Thank you once again, for my beautiful laundry bag and your ongoing work with Aussie Hero Quilts. It's an honour to have a keepsake from someone like you to cherish.

Keep warm! 


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G'day Clarissa,

I arrived at work Thursday morning to find a post pack on my desk. Intrigued, I opened it up and found the most fantastic gift!

I unfolded the laundry bag - then found your letter - and honestly, I had a little tear as I read it.

I have only been in the Army since January this year - so am very new but I'm learning fast! I'm in NSW as a Padre for the School of Military Engineering - and I'm having just the best time.

I was a Police Officer after I left school for 5 years, then went to Missionary and Bible College where I met my wife.

When we finished studying we worked in New South Wales for a couple of years, then Tasmania where I was Deaconed and Priested.

We came back to NSW (something I never thought we'd do).  I initially asked to join as a Reserve Chaplain but through that conversation they ended up asking me to join full-time.

We have 3 sons, 21, 20 and 17. Our youngest is in Year 11 this year I was hesitant to join full time as that means I could get posted anywhere - but then Army offered me a base close to home.

I am deeply honoured to serve our soldiers and officers - I still get to serve the Lord Jesus - but I also get to serve the men and women who serve you and me. I couldn't ask for a better 'job'.

That there are people like you out there who love to bless our service men and women just makes me so humbled and joyful.

Thank you so much for your gift. I've shown my family and they're all feeling the same as I am.

My prayers and God's richest blessings be on you and your family.

With heartfelt thanks 

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Good Afternoon Anne,

Thank you for the gorgeous quilt you made for me. I had just returned from a trip from the Middle East so it was a very welcome surprise to see it waiting for me when I got 'home' (I can't believe I am calling the Middle East home). The colours have certainly brightened up my room. The days are certainly hot here as August is historically the hottest month of the year here. The other week it reached 52 degrees so our air conditioners run non-stop. It is a dichotomy of having the air conditioner on but still wanting a quilt over me but without the warmth of a traditional quilt so yours is perfectly weighted.

I loved the laundry bag and think it is a fantastic idea and certainly having the coloured ones makes a big difference compared to the usual white ones. The washing machines here are certainly through on our clothes. An idea might be to make one perhaps double the size so we can wash delicate tops / t-shirts and clothes that we don't ruined in the machine.

I have spent 16 years in the Air Force so far and still loving it. I am a Personnel Officer (Human Resources) by trade, although I haven't done that role for quite a while. I have been very lucky to have a variety of jobs, most recently as the Air Force Gender Adviser where I look at the role of women in preventing and resolving conflict. So many of our historical conflicts have ignored women's needs and priorities, they were wars fought by men, against men and peace negotiated by men and ignoring the whole other half of the population being affecting by that conflict. So the United Nation has done a lot of work to increase women in peace and security operations so they are actively involved in negotiation, understanding how women can help to resolve conflicts quicker and making sure their needs are taken into account in recovery operations. So I have been doing this work in Air Force for the last 3 years, making sure these issues are considered whenever we go and operate overseas, whether it is an environment like the Middle East or a humanitarian response for one of our neighbouring Pacific Islands. 

I can say,  hand on heart, I absolutely love my job. I am incredibly passionate about it and know it is making a difference.

I have 3 daughters aged, 11, 9 and 7, who while they miss their mum and very excited to hear about the work I do. I am almost half way through my deployment now and will be home in time for Christmas which is wonderful news.

Take care and stay safe.

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Dear Bridget,

My sincerest thanks for my absolutely beautiful quilt and laundry bag. It was the highlight of my day when I received it last week. You, Jan-Maree and the team have no idea what a big difference it makes receiving such a personalised and special gift.

I will surely sing Aussie Hero Quilt's praises and believe me if I had a single bit of creativity with sewing I would have started volunteering - that is how inspired I felt when I received it. Thank you again!

A bit about me, quite a long story...

I am married and have four children, two sons and two daughters. My husband is also a serving member and was deployed in 2018 (unfortunately he did not know about AHQ and therefore did not ask for one). I was born and grew up in South Africa.  The South African tradition works a bit different that your nickname is not necessarily included in your given names. My husband and I were serving members but felt we and our two children (son and daughter) at the time did not have the brightest future we can have there. 

We sadly left our family behind and immigrated to Australia and have been here for 12 years now. We had another two children (son and daughter) setting us up for a nice round household of six - four children aged between 8 and 20 - haha silly me.. but we love them to bits.

My oldest son, 20, has enlisted into the Air Force this year after finishing year 12 and working casually for a year awaiting his enlistment date. He is still under training and will hopefully finish towards the end of the year. My oldest daughter is 13 y.o. and just started to go through the 'rolling eyes at parents because she knows better phase' which my husband is really enjoying (NOT) while I am deployed. My youngest is a solid South African built 10 y.o. (as tall as his 13yo sister) and plays a massive game of NRL. My youngest daughter and most independent child is 8 and basically the boss of everyone in the house.

As if this is not busy enough, we have the joy of two Lemon Beagle girls, although I believe they are most related to goats than dogs. There is not a thing in the house or yard that they do not chew. They are only 2 and on their fourth kennel. They are well loved and spoiled and love long walks on the beach, sniffing and chewing everything. My mum, dad, mother and father-in-laws all still live in South Africa, so we have no family here in Australia, but we absolutely love it here and the great opportunities this country affords us. I think we appreciate it so much more as we have lived somewhere else and know how good we have it here. We love Australia just the way it is and will sacrifice our lives for it, as we do being deployed away from our families and serving everyday of our lives.

Thank you for telling me about your family.

Kind Regards.

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Good Evening Ruth,

You made me a beautiful laundry bag. 

I am a 33 year old Petty Officer, and have been in the Navy for a little over 16 years. The deployment to the Middle East was my 4th, and I returned to my home state of Victoria in the midst of stage 3 lock down, which has now progressed to stage 4. It certainly is strange, and has made returning home very different from my previous deployments.

One thing that really made my day on returning home was receiving your laundry bag. It is incredibly intricate and detailed and I am very grateful for receiving it and humbled that you would volunteer your time to make it.

Thank you again for my beautiful laundry bag. It will certainly be well used and I am very grateful to have recieved it.

Best Regards.

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G'day Pennie,

I am just writing to say thank you most sincerely for the priceless quilt you have produced. I am happy to say that the quilt has taken pride of place in my office.

My apologies for the time it has taken to write back to you. I had some trouble finding the right words to express the admiration I have for your skill.

You absolutely nailed the brief in terms of your interpretation of 'space'. I have had the fortune with the RAAF to conduct space operations in both Australia and United States. My current unit operates a space tracking radar and will soon take delivery of a space surveillance telescope. So both the backing material and star fields on the front fit right in at work!

Stay safe, and I look forward to thanking you in person at some stage.

Regards.

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Dear Pennie,


I am the Company Sergeant Major in Asia. I am very grateful for the gift I received from you. Over the last 22 years of service and many operations overseas and exercises in Australia, it is nice to know that our efforts don't go unnoticed.

I have been in the Army for 22 years joining at the age of 24. I am currently posted in the Northern Territory.

COVID 19 came about changing our live forever, the impact that it has had on the members of the Australian Defence Force has been hard. With not being able to spend time with our family in order to help out over the last eight months to assist the general public and support to the Police Force and health workers. Now we have asked them to deploy as well as spending more time away from loved ones. 

It is one of the hardest things that we do in the military is not to be able to see our loved one on a regular basis. That the sacrifice that each and every person makes when joining the Defence Force regardless of the service. Navy, Army or Air Force.

I am married and have five kids - nearly all have left home. The issue is that they live in QLD and I work in the NT. I usually get six flights home a year but with COVID19 closing borders and our assistance to the public, I have not been able to go home for eleven months. Then I was deployed and won't be back to until the end of the year.

Then I received your gift in the mail, when I opened up and saw that it was a laundry bag with the Australian Army Logo and Skippy Kangaroo, I was touched and it gave me a nice warm feeling inside that someone had gone to such an effort in making this laundry bag. Then I read your letter and it made a sense of pride wash over me, here is a complete stranger that does not know me or any one in my company and they have created a gift to say how much they appreciate the work we do and yes it does add colour to my accommodation.

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Good Afternoon Anne,

I am 22 years old and I am from NSW currently posted to Northern Territory.

I take the time to write this to you, to thank you for the laundry bag that you have so kindly and generously made for me in your personal time. In my 5 years of service I have never heard nor seen anything like this happen before.

Although not currently in Australia, I have been kept up-to date with the Corona Virus pandemic from my family and through social media.

I wish you the best to you and your family to get through these times of hardship. I also very much appreciate your act of kindness.

Best wishes.

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Hi Pennie,

Firstly, thank you very much for the laundry bag. It is greatly received. It will come in extremely handy while I'm away. I appreciate the effort you put into it and I assure I will get a lot of use out of it.

Secondly, I'd like to thank you very much for your kind words... but I feel it's my duty to assist and/or help anyone as much as I can, it's the right thing to do as we are all in this together. Even just to help save 1 more Australian from getting sick or dying is thanks enough.

I'd also like to thank you for the service you do, it is a very important role too, there are many people who give a lot behind the scenes.

Take care, kindest regards.

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Hello Anne,

Hope this email finds you well and your family safe and well in these crazy times. I just wanted to say thank you so very much for the beautiful quilt you made for my husband. He was very much taken back in being chosen to have a quilt made for him. He was very happy to see it when your parcel arrived in the mail. I am sorry it has taken me so long to write to you.

We are a family of 5 humans, 2 Labradors and a cat. Our children (son 15, daughters - 13 and 3). Life here is never boring and always so busy. So I do apologise for not writing sooner.

My husband and I have been together for 20 years and married for almost 16...So I have been through a few deployments (our eldest children have seen a few too, although our youngest is yet to experience Daddy being away at sea)... So in his 30 years in the Navy, we have seen deployments and postings... Although we have been lucky to remain in New South Wales for most of this time. He was in Western Australia the year our son was born, so he was born there, as we didn't want to risk him not being home for the birth of our first child. Needless to say, he has been home for all births... much relief to myself..

I just wanted to say thank you once again, for the beautiful quilt. My husband loved it, and I'm sure will be well used for many years to come. It is greatly appreciated and will be treasured.

Hope you and your family keep well during these times.

With the kindest regards and warmest wishes.

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From the Facebook Page;

I feel honoured and privileged to receive this Aussie Hero Quilt. This personalised quilt was made by Bev and Geoff as a symbol of gratitude for my more than 25 years service and the sacrifice that service had asked of me. 

Bev and Geoff it's beautiful. I'll also add a special thank you to my lovely wife, for nominating me. To Jan-Maree, on behalf of all Australian Defence Men and Women, thank you for the fabulous gesture and initiative it is truly is appreciated.

Thank you all.

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Dear Bridget,

I hope this message finds you well in these strange times that we are living in. It is quite a few years now since I separated from the Australian Army in 2012, in my 38th year of service. My wife (also ex ADF) found out about your organisation and requested a quilt on my behalf.

Thank you for the magnificent quilt that you and other sewing ladies have crafted for me, I was quite moved when I unpacked it and saw the 'Skippy Badge' of the Royal Australian Regiment, the units which I served in as a boy and man for 22 years of Army life, it stirs many memories.

My wife and I live in NSW on six acres, which needs a bit of maintenance and whilst I live the retired life, my wife, is semi retired and works about three months of the year as a GP.  She is a former nurse who switched to medicine and her study was sponsored by the ADF. We have a blended family of six grown ups with two of them currently living with us, it is very nice to have some grand children to liven things up. We are lucky with our children, they are all well adjusted and reasonably settled, we can call on the skills of two nurses, a builder, plumber, kitchen designer/cabinet maker and RAAF pilot.

Our household is completed by two outrageously spoiled cats who rule the roost and lord over we humans. But they are very affectionate in their way.

My Army career as an Infantryman was physically challenging and varied. I moved through the ranks fairly steadily doing training and operational jobs, both in Australia and overseas. The good times far outweighed the bad and I have an indelible impression that Australia, for all it's ills, is a great place to live and raise children.

Aussie Hero Quilts is a great initiative. The gift of a quilt and a laundry bag to deployed ADF members is a great thing to raise morale and bolster sometimes flagging spirits. Knowing that people other than immediate family are thinking of you when deployed is a great gift.

Once again thank you for the quilt.

Warm Regards.

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Good Morning Relma,

I write this email after receiving your beautifully made laundry bag.

I am currently serving on Operation COVID-19 Assist within the Aged Care Response and was ecstatic to hear that Aussie Hero Quilts had made a delivery to our team. I saw your design and made a beeline to ensure it was not snapped up before I could get it. I love the look of bags pegboard and tools design and especially enjoy your addition of the stitched on tag. It immediately reminded me of not only my family garage but also my family themselves, something I have been missing since being away.

For me this beautiful gift has additional meaning. My father, proudly served in the Australian Army and whilst overseas on Operation Slipper received one of your quilts. I thank you for allowing me to also own one of your stunning pieces.

Once again, I would like to thank you for this amazing gift, you and the whole team at Aussie Hero Quilts do an unbelievable job. I know that everyone here at the centre are over the moon with their bags and that service personnel throughout defence are extremely grateful for the time and effort you all put into making us feel at home no matter where we may be.

Regards.

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Dear Aussie Heroes Team,

It seems like such a long time now that I've been handing these beautiful laundry bags to our  soldiers, sailors and air men and women who're being prepared for their duties on the ports, motels, airports and borders, as well as other duties they're assigned.

As we prepare these young men and women, they're always overwhelmed by the generosity of you and the outstanding job you've done in making these bags and are deeply moved to receive them. One comment I often get is 'there's so much love sewn into this bag!' and they're appreciated so very deeply. Much of what we do in the ADF and in life goes without thanks or appreciation and the consistent response I see is of being deeply moved by your partnership with them and that their efforts, which they often see as insignificant really does matter.

I have no idea how many bags I've handed out now, it's way over the thousand and probably closer to two thousand (or more). Thank you for your generosity - I know it costs you personally in materials, time, skill and postage - Australia Post has done very well! 

I keep being asked how much longer this pandemic will last. My daughter-in-law told me she's been angry with me as I told her in March, that August would be the earliest this would all be over but we have such a long way to go.

                                            It is such a privilege for me to give out these laundry bags. Please keep sending them and know everyone of them is deeply valued and appreciated. I also hear stories from these who have been deployed in the past how the quilts and laundry bags were a reminder of home.

I also had a Warrant Officer who is a very keen South Sydney Rabbitohs Supporter. He is a Police Sergeant, a tough man who has experienced so much in his career. When he recieved his Souths Laundry bag with crest and his initials he melted, and absolutely loves it. That bag hangs in pride of place in his home.

That's not an unusual response. Since doing this, I have received two quilts - one for a young infantry soldier who is now out of the army. It was a black and white quilt with a chess board in the centre. I was able to play three games of chess with him on it and he won two of those games. The second was received by a member whom I've known for ten years - an ex-commando and has had significant surgeries lately which means he may not be able to continue in the army. Everything has gone against this year, including his property being damaged during the fires. Several of his good friends were going to see him and they presented him his quilt which absolutely blew him away. This was exactly the shot in the arm he needed, right when he needed it most. Every time I've spoken with him since he tells me he can't believe you ladies would do something like that for him.

I thank every one of you from the bottom of my heart for your selfless generosity. I really don't know how you do it, but appreciate so much the fact that you do what you do and do it so well with such joyful grace.

I trust this pandemic will be over sooner rather than later, but please be assured, the memory of these laundry bags will be fresh in the minds of so many ADF members long after we return to normal (whatever the new 'normal' will look like).

God bless you and thanks again for who you are and all you do.
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Good Afternoon Jean,

I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks for the time and effort that you put into making the laundry bags for our deployed troops. I was recently a benefactor of such a laundry bag when I deployed to the Borders for Operation COVID-19 Assist. 

Thanks again and have a lovely day.


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From the Facebook Page;

My husband deploys tomorrow, and was absolutely chuffed to receive this today. Literally pulled it out of his bag at the front door!

Thank you April for your beautiful creation (special mention for the gorgeous embroidered 'bug')!. We both loved your letter, and send our best wishes and sincerest thanks for your kindness and generosity. I hope you and your family stay safe in these extraordinary times. 



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Good Morning Lisa,

My quilt has arrived! 

I am the very grateful recipient of a beautiful Aussie Hero Quilt. It arrived in time for my 37th Navy Birthday today and I proudly shared it with my colleagues at the Australian High Commission in New Zealand. 

I wanted you to know how much I was moved by the opportunity to be gifted this beautiful quilt that captures so much of the 'essence of me'. Apart from the obvious inclusions reflecting my passions, the addition of the Mariner's Compass block at the centre top was a beautifully subtle addition that was not lost on this 'lapsed quilter'. This quilt would be very special at the best of times. At a time in the world where I have not been able to travel home to see my family since January, and likely won't get to hug them until sometime in February, having this expression of 'Aroha' (Te Reo Maori for love) means so much more to me.

Thank you and the AHQ team for all the work you do to bring a little Aussie Aroha into our lives.

Warm regards.


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Hi Sally,

I just wanted to reach out and say huge thank you for the quilt you designed and made, it came in the mail this week, just in time for ANZAC Day. I didn't know what to expect and it blew me away, the other Aussies on mission are very jealous, it has really made my week!

I grew up in NSW where I am currently working. It's nice to be posted back here after being posted to ACT and QLD. I'm really looking forward to coming back home after this deployment. It makes me realise how lucky we are in Australia (even after the bush fires, floods and pandemics). The current issues in Africa are similar (locusts, floods and the pandemic) but it's just so hard for them to cope. We are just so fortunate!

We had a small ANZAC ceremony here yesterday (with social distancing of course), it was very nice to have such a small group of us having a memorial on a deployment, it was definitely an ANZAC Day to remember.

My role here within the UN Mission in Africa is the Geospatial Officer, I create a lot of maps that are used to plan missions, analyse food shortages and see where conflict is within the country, to name a few tasks that I do. Back in Australia I come from an Engineering Corp background and have recently changed to Intelligence.

Covid has just reached Africa and all leave and movement has been cancelled. I was planning to travel with my partner for some time off but that has been cancelled. I hope to get some time off with her when I get home later this year, it will have been a long 6 months apart.

Thanks again for the quilt, it has brought some much needed morale at the perfect time. You and the Aussie Hero Team are really appreciated here.

Kind Regards.


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Hi Jan-Maree and Jenny,

I have just recieved my laundry bag that has been lovingly made by you Jenny.

I am a little speechless and have a tiny tear in my eye as I read both of your letters. It hardly seems enough to just say 'thank you'!

I am an Air Force Reservist Motor Transport Driver (MTD) since 2007, however spent 5 years in the Permanent Air Force back in 1978 - 1983. When I left in 1983 I then joined Victoria Police and have had a 31 year career which I retired from in 2017.

This is my first Deployment and I am indeed proud to be able to do my bit in helping out fellow Australian's through this very scary pandemic we find ourselves fighting.

Again, I say a very big thank you. I will treasure this laundry bag forever.

My heartfelt love to you both.




 


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