Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Grati-Tuesday 6 October 2020

 Talk about change in weather! What a beautiful weather the weekend brought us here in Sydney, but now we are bracing for a few cold days and even some rain again. What's it like where you are reading from?

Even more importantly, we have some awesome letters to get to this weekend, so grab your cuppa, sit back and browse away.. 


P.S. the start of the Christmas chatter in one of the letters below - not sure if I should be excited or not yet.. Wondering what Christmas will look like for us this year. Time shall tell.. 11 Mondays to go eek!

Alex

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Hi Ellen,

I would like to thank you very kindly for the laundry bag you made for me. I have been on Operation Covid Assist for the last 3 weeks and received your laundry bag as a really nice gift. I'm not joking when I say I actually used it everyday and now I'm back on base I find myself using it still, I didn't realise my dirty clothes must have always ended up in a pile on the floor.

A bit about me, I only joined this year as a pilot with flight training to start next year and hope to be flying fighter jets one day. I currently live in New South Wales. For Operation Covid Assist due to being an Officer I was roped into be the 'boss' at a small town, as the least expereinced RAAFie, it was a steep learning curve.

Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into the laundry bag. I can safely say all my subordinates loved their own bags also. These sorts of gifts really do make a difference to us when we are away from our families.

Kind regards.

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Good Evening Jo,

I'm not quite sure where to start because the gesture, the quilt, absolutely everything about what you, your group and Aussie Hero Quilts has sent has absolutely blown me away. I'm so grateful, appreciative, and in love with this gift.

Thank you, thank you, a million times over thank you. Please pass on my gratitude to every single person who contributed to putting together this personalised priceless item. Thank you Anne S, the crest and personal details have added such an individual touch to the quilt. Thank you to Clarissa's headquarters team for finding a way to get the badge added, it's the unit I'm working for on this trip and is a defining feature for what it represents to me in remembering this tour. Judith and Jo, you have combined this random assortment fabric and brought it to life. Everyone involved has created a life long memento that I will treasure forever. I can't express enough how perfect it is and that it has already unashamedly been flaunted to everyone here in the country.  

I'm lucky to be here to be able to work with amazing individuals who genuinely work tirelessly to make a difference. I hope in a small way my time here can support the Middle East to return to the natural beauty and peaceful place it once was.

Currently, my wife, our pup and I love living in the relaxed and untamed wild of the Northern Territory. I always encourage everyone who hasn't been able to visit, because even I didn't realise what an experience it was until I had moved there the first time.

It's a tumultuous time within the world and I send all the best wishes to you, your friends and your family. I hope you have not been too adversely affected by the pandemic. The work you and your friends do for Aussie Hero Quilts does more than you may ever realise to the individuals who receive them. They really are lifetime personal artefacts to remember a period in one's life that is both extremely challenging and rewarding.

Look after yourself, your family, and continue to be amazing, and keep contributing to this incredible organisation.

Kind Regards.

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G'day Marilyn,

I would firstly like to thank you so much for the laundry bag I received. It was the blue one in the pile delivered by our Chaplin with rocket ships and other space related things on it. It easily stood out with being the most fun and truth be told, I had other people later try to swap their bag for mine but that wasn't going to happen. This 'laundry bag' happened to become a lifesaver; I had to spend a couple of nights at an old part of a base in New South Wales and my room unfortunately did not have a pillowcase. Lucky for me, the laundry bag was a perfect fit over the standard size pillow and actually remained that way for the rest of my trip. It attracted compliments from the housekeeping staff at the motel I stayed at and put a smile on my face every-time I returned to my room.

I was assigned to a group to offer support at the NSW border. My small group was assigned to assist State Police ensuring permits to travel interstate were valid. Fortunately, for us, the area was a small farming 'border zone' which consisted of mostly cooperative local farm owners / workers; just going about their daily lives. We worked a rotating 12 day week which consisted of morning, evening and overnight shifts then ending in 3 days of rest. We were restricted to a small area of town (which actually only had 4 shops to visit) so even on our time off, we really didn't have much choice of things to do. We did however, have a fantastic motel owner who kindly provided us with exercise equipment and even installed some gymnastics bars which helped keep us occupied.

At the time of writing this, I believe Victoria has just announced their lowest number of new COVID cases in quite a while which could be promising! I haven't been able to see my friends and family properly. I am originally from Victoria and had to miss my brother's wedding earlier in the year as they were just about to close the borders. My step sister is due with her second child this week and at this rate, I'm prepared to not go home this Christmas to see loved ones. That's ok though; there are many others in similar situations and you just have to accept they're different times we're living in. My girlfriend is in New South Wales and works in retail, so she also isn't expecting to go home over the Christmas period. It should be a nice relaxed one this year which to be perfectly honest, will be a welcoming change from the usual hectic family plans.

My day to day life here on base consists of maintenance and servicing of the airfield fire trucks. We have different sections of our workshops that are responsible from a wide variety of vehicles ranging from tow motors to Bushmasters. We also do training that allows us to work on portable air conditioners and generators. Basically, if it has wheels and does not take off, we can take care of it. Currently, I am about to finish up a course for our Striker firetruck which has been a great two weeks of learning and experience. Then it'll be straight back into the swing of things.
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Hi Clarissa,

Just to let you know that I picked the package today. 

I was very touched by the message from Leanne and appreciate the many hours of dedication that it took to make quilt and laundry bag. 

The vibrant colours and the crest are just perfect and will continue to remind me of Australia no matter where I travel on military duty.

Again, many thanks for the quilt and laundry bags I was very honoured to receive them. I also want to say a very blessed thank you to your Aussie Hero Quilts team for their service and dedication.

Stay safe during these COVID times.

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Hi Lyn Field Mystery Group,

He was so chuffed with his quilt which arrived today, I haven't heard him lost for words before, but he was today. He said he received 3 letters with the quilt which he intends to answer/ 

Please thank the quilt makers for us, and let them know they have made a wonderful man's day.

Kind Regards.




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Good Afternoon Ruth,

I just wanted to reach out and thank you for the amazing laundry bag that you have made for me while I am away.

I cannot express how much I appreciated what you have done for me. Receiving it has truly been a highlight of my deployment so far.

Hopefully in the near future I will be able to take a photo of myself and my colleagues with our bags and post it to the Facebook group.

Again, thank you for your time and effort.

All the best.
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Shared with us from one of our volunteers' blog;

I would like to thank Jan-Maree and everyone concerned that makes the quilt. I am a Vietnam Vet and today I just received one of your quilts. 

I feel very proud to have received it, you see I started a PTSD program back in November 1981 and over the years I have helped many vets and today the boys and girls from the ward presented your quilt to me.

I am so honoured I just wanted to say thank you to all.

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Hi Ruth,

I am the wife of a soldier who has received one of your beautiful quilts and and laundry bags. My husband has just returned from deployment and shown me your beautiful craftsmanship.

I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. We are hoping to shortly grow our family and your generous gift will one day become our children's blanket and future family keepsake.

Thank you for everything you do. This year has been so hard and your generosity is so heart warming.

Thank you again.
 .... 


Hi Ruth,

I cannot thank you enough for the beautiful laundry bag that you made for me. 

The mint green colour is perfect. Thank you for going to the trouble of doing that! It matches the quilt I also received so makes a lovely little set!

I think the work that is done by the ladies and gents of Aussie Hero Quilts is amazing. I saw it on Facebook years ago and thought it was a wonderful idea. My husband has received laundry bags while deployed in the past and thought they were fantastic.

Things are going well here. It is very hot. We completely skipped spring and went from freezing cold days to 40+ days over night back in April and it has been that way ever since. The mornings and evenings are starting to cool down a little now and are providing some relief. It is also a good sign that winter will eventually get here!

We have been relatively unaffected by COVID both here and at home. Thankfully, no one at home has fallen ill and we have very good protective measures here to keep us safe. Although as a country, we are very safe COVID wise. I hope you also remain relatively unaffected back at home.

We are hoping to be home by the end of the year which will be nice. We have been away for the duration of this year so it will be nice to get home to my family.

Thank you again for taking the time to make my beautiful laundry bag. It will get plenty of use, now and I will ensure it is with me for whatever future adventures Army sends me on!

Take care.
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Dear Sue,

I wanted to reach out and say thank you so much for the time and effort that you put into making the beautiful laundry bag I was gifted. It is truly a work of art and I was ecstatic that I got to be the lucky one to take home a bag covered in Australian icons.

I am in Queensland normally working in Royal Australian Regiment as an Infantry Officer. As I'm sure you can imagine, when we started out the year I thought we would be up North and training hard. Clearly, that didn't work out and now I find myself in NSW trying to fight the invisible enemy  that is this virus. It's not all doom and gloom though, it looks like the nation is on the mend and with everyone taking some responsibility hopefully everything will regain a shred of normality. I suppose we will have to wait and see.

It truly means a lot that you have reached out to me and others with such a simple yet effective gesture. I was touched to receive my laundry bag and I think it is something I will keep with me for a long time to come.

I hope you are well and that your garden is thriving after the extra attention it has received.

Yours sincerely

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Dear Clarissa,

I would like to start with saying thank you for the amazing laundry bag you have created for me. Receiving mail in this current state of COVID overseas is a nice pick me up.

I am currently part of the team deployed to the Middle East. As you can be aware I am part of the Signals Corps within the Army as a Communications Systems Operator (in short a radio operator). I have been in the ADF now for just shy of 8 years and have been posted all over Australia; Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and now I am currently posted to Northern Territory with my partner and two dogs. 

A bit about myself. As you read above I now live in Northern Territory, I was previously posted to New South Wales which is my home state and my parents still live in NSW. We are a very close family so with this deployment and being posted to Northern Territory does make it hard being away from them.

My partner was a Pharmacy Assistant and then started working as a travel agent, and hopefully getting into the marketing world for them soon. I have two dogs at home (I left to deploying with only having one dog) but will arrive home to a new one. They are both full of energy and they both love to stir each other up and ruin my lovely lawn.

Things I do regularly outside of green time is 4WDing, water skiing, fishing hockey and rugby (I can't play rugby anymore due to too many injuries). 

I also have a sister who is currently serving in the ADF as well, she is posted to QLD in the Transport Corps.

So that is a little about me and I would like to thank you and all the others that volunteer their time to create all these wonderful things for us.

Cheers.

 .... 


Anne,

Thank you so much for the Hero Quilt - I received it in Sept. Pretty good considering the rumour I've heard is that our mail goes via the UK aircraft to Europe before arriving here in the Middle East!

The quilt sits proudly on my bed and I look forward to taking it back home to my family. Quite proud of the badges - the colours and the dolphins. Certainly appreciate the effort that has gone into making it and thank you for chasing up the badges. It means a lot to me.

I am also a keen swimmer, and am a keen surfer. Always keen to get into the water at every opportunity. We are fortunate here on the Navy base that we have a 25 mtr pool and they are always running swimming events through the morale fund. The last event was 'swim the English channel'. You had two months to swim 40 km's. I've finished that and are working on keeping the km's ticking over - can't wait to get back home and take my kids to the beach and get some surfing in myself!

It has been a good deployment and has been kept fairly busy. It has been challenging to get the support from the regional partners and the US, but I have maintained an Aussie sense of humour and worked hard to get people on board. My last job will be getting the USA and Middle East to work together in a co-ordinated exercise - which is certainly a challenge.

I am due to head home in later this year - so that I get home in time for Christmas including iso. The deployment was several months long but it has been extended by a couple of weeks with COVID and co-ordinating air travel but just part of the world we live in now. I have been in the Navy for over 25 years. Spent time serving in lots of ships, and certainly enjoyed time in the Middle East in this job.Sounds like things are ok in some states in Australia, and good to see things are getting back to normal. 

I miss my family and can't wait to see my wife and kids - I have a daughter who is thirteen, and three boys, eleven through to four. They have kept my wife busy so it is time for me to get home and be part of the team.

Thanks again for the quilt - I really appreciate it.

Wishing you all the best - hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Regards.
    
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Dear Alison,

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for my lovely Aussie Hero Quilt - I absolutely love it. My husband also served in the RAA0C in the Army, so I am planning to add our Army story to the quilt. I'm planning on putting all our rank badges, some other cloth badges and other Army stuff. It looks good in the planning phase; I just hope it does the quilt justice.

Now, for a bit of my background. I'm 54 and am married, we met in the Army. We have a 17 year old son who is in year 12 and hopes to become and engineer. My husband, is semi-retired. I work Army Reserve from home fixing HR training data for Army members - I love it and it is really flexible.

I absolutely love the special journey my special journey quilt has been on to get to me - it makes the quilt all the more personalised. Thank you for sharing the story with me.

I have been interested in craft (sewing, knitting, crocheting) my whole life (my Mother / Grandmother / Aunties are all crafty). 

Once again thank you very much for my beautiful quilt, it means a lot to be recognised in this way.

Take Care
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Good Afternoon Margaret,

I'm very sorry for the late reply. I had every intention of doing this far earlier, but it's been an absolutely wild ride both in and outside of Australia this year! First off, I just wanted to say thank you very much for your sewing work, everyone was extremely happy with the work you and your fellow volunteers did for us. I'll be taking it everywhere my Army career takes me, (Army is notoriously bad for it's terrible linen).

I know it was some time ago now, but I hope you and your family stayed safe during the awful bushfire season. Australia could not have been a good place to be during that period of time.

I wish you the best of luck during the pandemic. My family is in Victoria.

Thanks to you and the rest of Aussie Hero Quilts for doing what you do, everyone appreciates your work, even if soldiers are extremely forgetful and fail to reply to the letters they get!

Best wishes.

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Hi Noelene,

I work for the Royal Australian Navy and I only just arrived today at the Barracks.

I received a handmade laundry bag from yourself and I absolutely love it. I just wanted to thank you for dedicating your time to make these for ADF members.

I feel very thankful.

Have a blessed weekend and I hope you are staying safe during these hard times.

Yours kindly.

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Hi Jenny,

Thanks for making me a hero quilt. I absolutely love it. Nearly brought a tear to my eye when I opened it up. In a place where we see a lot of negative it is incredible to receive such an amazing, personal gift.

I am 26. I am a Corporal in the Army. I'm currently posted to Queensland. I joined the Army early 2014. After I completed my recruit training in NSW, I completed 18 months of training at the Army School of health. My first posting in Northern Territory, where I worked for 2 years.In January 2019, I posted to Queensland and I absolutely love it there. I've got two boxer dogs at home who I miss dearly.

I arrived in the Middle East in July. We had to complete two weeks in isolation before flying into theatre. I think that is the most television / movies I've ever watched in my life.

I am working in the Hospital located in the Middle East. The base is a lot larger and a lot more built up than I was expecting. The hospital we work in has many nations. At the moment, the hospital is primarily ran by European's however the Australian's still hold a very high presence. I can't tell you the exact numbers and capability of the hospital but we have people from all over the world working here.

My role within the hospital is evacuation, emergency department and trauma / resuscitation team.

I have a twin sister and an older sister who live in Victoria and are both nurses. So they are hoping the restrictions and the COVID numbers start decreasing soon!

It's definitely a very strange time in the world for everyone.

Thanks again for my quilt!

I hope to hear from you soon! 

Warm Regards.
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To whom it may concern;

I am a Maritime Warfare Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. I am currently deployed as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

I have just sent an email to Ann, thanking her for the laundry bag that I recently received. I wanted to also thank your organisation for the work that you have been doing since 2012. An astonishing numbers of quilts and laundry bags have gone out, and a great deal of passion has been put into this project from your volunteers.

In a time of social distancing, all of us can feel the cold of isolation. So it was terrific to have received something which is both warm and personal. The gift of the bag, along with the accompanying letter, was an incredibly touching way to show that someone I had never met, living in a place that I had never been to was thinking about the work that we are doing. All of us were very moved by the gesture that your organisation has made. It encourages us to do our very best, and hopefully soon things will be back to normal.

Once again, thank you,

Warm Regards.

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Dear Jenny,

What a wonderful surprise it was to receive your beautiful quilt and laundry bag in the post today! I can honestly admit that I had a lump in my throat and a little tear in my eye. I can assure you that it was from pure happy, warm and 'home' thoughts.

I am getting to the end of my time here and this gift has lifted my spirits 110%. 

I love the personal touches, it really does mean the world to me.

I work in a logistics role which is always changing depending on troops needs. This covers a large area in the Middle East and United Arab Emirates. The next rotation arrives later this year, and I finally get to go home to Queensland. I am one of the lucky ones who gets to go back with family at Christmas time.

I shall treasure your letter always from this 'trip'.  I really wanted to write this letter to you as I feel it is more personal this way.

You do not know how much this means to me and the joy it brings. 

I wish you and your family well and long future of happiness. Thank you again, for the gift.

Yours Sincerely.

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Hi Sheena,

I know by reading your letter that you understand the nature of service and that what you do through the support of Aussie Hero Quilts, is your very special way of expressing that commitment to service.

This year has been one of, if not the most challenging of my career. Based down in Victoria, the year started with the surrounds ravaged by fire with the smoke only to be replaced with the spectre of COVID that has unfortunately remained until present. Into that gloom you have provided a stunning and recharging gift to a very proud serving member.

I joined the Air Force in 1983 as an Engineering Cadet and have served continuously since. When asked about my job I often quip that "I don't work for a living", and it is true. I am very proud of my Service and Defence as a whole but what we do does not really qualify as a job. So I don't work for a living, it is so much more than that. There are days when what needs to be done is not great but it is those days that the lessons and the commitment to your team kicks in and gets done. These hard times are always there to provide contrast so that the good times stand out. A 37 year career is littered with many of these good times, and you, through your kindness have added another at a time when it was most needed.

The quilt is a wonderful collection of images which captures so many things important to me - it is so remarkably personalised. The RAAF Roundel is wonderful, as is the crest with details - please pass on my thanks to Kerri for her input. One thing that you might not know, your amazing quilt came as a complete surprise to me. It seems my lovely wife put my name forward so I had no idea until the mail arrived last week.

You started your letter with thanks for the honour, I want to finish by thanking you not simply for the difference your art has made to me but for what you and your team mates have done for Defence as a whole - you should take great pride from what you do.

Kind Regards.


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Hi Ruth, 

Many thanks for the West Coast Eagles Laundry bag, great quality and really appreciate your message.

Once again, many thanks for the service you provide us, it really does make a difference.

Regards.
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Hello Tamsin,

I have received your quilt! Thank you very much for the effort you have gone to, and it is already serving me well on the couch in front of the TV in the evenings back home. 

Thank you again for your support and to all the people involved at Aussie Quilts for your on going support to members deployed. It is always much appreciated and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Kind Regards.
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Hi Beverly,

Thank you for the lovely letter that I received today.

I am pleased that the material that you put a call out for, cause you were having trouble getting, will help make quilts for our special service men and women.

Thank you all for making the quilts.

Cheers.

 .... 


WPH Ladies,

Here he is!

Many thanks again to all involved, dad was very touched.

We are all just very grateful to your organisation for the beautiful quilt.

Warm Regards.
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Dear Wendy,

I was keen to take the opportunity to thank you for the most wonderful quilt you crafted. It was quite the surprise and the inclusion of 'Shaun the Sheep' was particuarly impressive and a super demonstration of your quilting mastery.

    My thanks again for your kind gesture.

Warm Regards.




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