Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Grati -Tuesday 11th January 2022

                                                         Hi there friends!

Hope you are having a very happy and safe week wherever you are reading from... I am working hard from home in a full week of meetings, but I have Friday off so thrilled about that.. 

Given the craziness that was the Christmas season , it's time to grab a cuppa, take a few minutes for you and check out these beautiful notes (and photos).. I'm sure you'll love it as much as me.

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Hello Beverley,

First I want to thank you so much for my personalised laundry bag. It is great!

Thanks also for the letter about yourself too, it is nice to gain a bit of understanding of someone else's journey in this world, and hear of your experiences with military intermingled with your family. 

I have been in the Army since 2006 when my wife (with 4 children under 6) allowed me to join the Reserves. While at basic training at Kapooka after my chapel service, I asked the Padre what was involved in becoming a Chaplain, as I could see the ministry he had was highly influential. 

When he said a degree in theology and 2-5 years in church ministry I thought it wasn't for me, but felt that God kept laying it on my heart to move towards chaplaincy. After a year of arguing with God I decided I should at least knock on some doors to see if they would open. I assumed that they would close, but they opened and I left my civilian work as a carpenter and started studying a degree in theology in 2008. 

It has been a long journey but I have kept up my military service as a cook, and just before I completed my 15 years of service, the Army was finally satisfied with everything I had done, and I was commissioned as a Chaplain.

I am still serving in an Army Reserve position, at the moment in NSW.

My wife and I with 5 kids (21, 19, 18, 16 and 9) live in the area and I am a Pastor of the District Baptist Church.

My apologies for taking so long to respond, because of COVID we did our Chaplains training online in September and the laundry bag was sent out to my home address. I put it aside with your letter to write a thank you when I got a few spare moments, and it got covered up with some other things and I only found it when I was tidying up yesterday.

May you have a blessed Christmas, and thank you again for taking the time to sew this together for me.

....

Good Evening Deidre of Aussie Hero Quilts,

I have received my quilt and would love to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the amazing work that you have place into creating such a beautiful one of a kind quilt just for me.

Reading back on your hand written letter that you so graciously created I will try to answer all the questions that you have placed within.

Firstly, yes I do love the quilt that you created for me, and the Hercules is an amazing plane. I have seen many camels from both the air and ground. We call them bin chickens over the MER as they feed them sometimes out of the large garbage bins.

With regards to COVID, this has put a massive dampener on our ability to explore and do what we would consider a normal daily event however, we are afforded the ability to move around with the minimal restrictions compared to the lockdowns I went through here in NSW earlier this year.

As it stands I am very glad to be back in Australia with my wife and children just enjoying the normality that we can try to live with.

Happy 100th RAAF Birthday back. I was also very fortunate to be able to fly over past ACT in March being the loadmaster that was in number 4 aircraft for the event so that holds a close personal achievement to myself.

With the black and white plus white and black spots on the border of the quilt, it immediately reminded me of the aboriginal dot painting which is part of my heritage so it works very well.

Well as people who know me well, I am a man of few words but what I say means a lot, so I will end it there, however, I do genuinely love and will cherish my quilt for many years to come.

Thank you for all the hard work that you do to provide a little snippet of love and Australia in an other wise hot and dusty place.

Kind Regards

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Good Afternoon Beverly,

I am writing to say thank you for the lovely quilt and laundry bag you made for me.

I am an Avionics Technician working for 816 Squadron on the Romeo helicopters and have been detached to HMAS ANZAC since last year We had a couple of good trips on HMAS ANZAC this year throughout Asia and visited numerous countries, unfortunately we weren't allowed to get off the ship and check anywhere out due to COVID but it was an interesting couple of trips and met some great people.

My wife and 2 daughters traveled around Australia in a caravan in 2017 after we took 6 months off work and school. It was a fantastic trip and hope to do many more trips away in the future.

I am posting to a different unit in January next year so will have some time at home with my family, which my wife and girls will be happy!

Thank you again for the quilt and laundry bag, your contributions to servicemen and women are very much appreciated.

Regards

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Jan-Maree,

Just a short note to convey a BIG THANK YOU to you and the Aussie Hero Quilts organisation for the beautiful quilt which you had made commemorating my 43 years of service to the Australian Army. 

I was delighted to be presented with this quilt by the Unit Padre at my formal farewell to Army last weekend and feel very touched that someone has gone to so much effort this great (and very practical) memento for me.

A special thanks to Bobbie and Kerri, who I understand were the two people actually made this quilt. They have clearly put a lot of thought and loving effort into their work here. Very much appreciated.

Thank you

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Safe sound and incredible. 

Thank you so much my boys think it's the greatest gift ever!

Regards

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Shirley and all Aussie Hero Quilt Volunteers,

A quick email to express my gratitude and appreciation for the top quality and personalised laundry bag and quilt.

Your design really hit the nail on the head and I am extremely happy with it.

I know that as serving member of the ADF, currently posted on HMAS Parramatta we and our families at times make sacrifices.

This email is acknowledging the time and effort (sacrifice) that you put in by making these wonderful tokens of appreciation.

You are one of the many volunteers Australia wide that selflessly give of your spare time to make others happy and that is to be commended.

Every time I wash my uniform with my laundry bag, or lay my head to rest on my AHQ Quilt, I will smile and remember you Shirley.

Thanks again.

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Good Afternoon,

I just wanted to let you know I have received the quilt after arriving home last night. Many thanks to Lynn and Wendy for their time and effort it is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

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Good Afternoon Rachel,

I am writing to thank you for the beautiful tea towel laundry bag I received on recent deployment with HMAS Ballarat. I was working on this ship as the Assistant Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer (AWEEO), aiding in the maintenance and support for the ships navigation, communications and weapons system.

As a trainee, I have only been in for just over a year, however am excited to continue my career and training and see more amazing things. With Ballarat, we recently travelled around Australia and up through Asia, conducting exercises with many other allied countries.

 Unfortunately, as is our world with COVID, the closest, I got to visiting any of the countries we saw and passed one night, however we weren't allowed off the ship. I love to travel, so it hurt to be so close to lots of new places with no opportunity to visit.

I grew up in SA, am currently here until 2022 where I'll make my 4th move in a year - over to ACT to study in ADFA for four years.

Thanks again, for the laundry bag, it was a very welcome (and very used) gift to receive partway throughout the deployment.

So much nicer than having the issued white mesh.

Many thanks

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Shared from one of our volunteers:

Back in November, on behalf of Aussie Hero Quilts, I had the honour of presenting a Fallen Warrior Quilt for a Vietnam Veteran to his wife. His wife had her sister present. This was requested by a friend's husband, and both men had served together in Vietnam.

During the presentation, I explained the importance of the quilts we make and how this particular quilt is special in a different way. Spoke about the Poppy blocks used in these quilts, that they can come from all over Australia. Provided the names of the ladies who had made this special quilt. These quilts are for them, to know that we remember and appreciate their service of their loved ones.

We spoke about the significance of each element included in 1RAR Regimental bade and motto included on the quilt.

Concluded with an acrostic poem spelling out the recipients first name, constructed from Australian Vietnam Veterans Alphabet by Marty Cameron.

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Dear Susan,

I am writing to say a huge thank you for the fabulous quilt. I was caught totally unaware regarding your magnificent gift of the quilt.

Both my mother and mother-in-law were accomplished quilters, and I am therefore fully aware of the endless hours of dedication and skill required to produce such a work of art.

Despite my relative short time in the RAAF (previously I served in the UK's RAF), I appreciate how significant the detachment quilts have become. It is frequently the first topic of conversation when discussing with individuals on deployment. They become treasured and very significant parts of our 'operational' periods of service. In fact I was telling Air Marshal about your quilt only last week.

You may have discussed with you the very short notice that I was given regarding my deployment. We were notified on Friday, planned on Saturday, spent Sunday packing and clearing medical and flew out of RAAF Base first thing Monday. Time was short with the Americans and British securing the perimeter of the international airport in the Middle East.

We worked closely with out Coalition partners, and DFAT to maximise the evacuation of as many as we could. In the end just over 4,100 evacuees were flown out who are hopefully now enjoying their new found Australian freedoms and residency.

Not the most comfortable 4 hour flight but I think worth the hardship to 'begin' a new life. 

I feel very privileged to now be the proud owner of one of the coveted quilts (if not a little embarrassed since I did not complete a full tour).

My wife, was delighted to be involved in the design. We were, along with so many others, of the COVID state regulations and were unable to see each other since before the deployment in August. I have now been posted back to the ACT to work in the ADF Head Quarters so can look forward to a whole lot more family time from now on!

The operation to evacuate citizens in the Middle East was one of the most significant times in my military career. Twenty years ago I first landed my C130 on the airport (with craters still in the runway), so to have commanded the Air Task Group for the airlift in August, was very poignant. I will treasure the quilt and you can imagine it will always have a deep significance to me. 

Thank you.

Happy Christmas to you and all the family, with my sincere thanks for your appreciation and dedication.

Kind Regards.

                          ....

Good Afternoon Pennie,

My apologies for taking so long to reply, everything has been so hectic towards the end of the year. 

I love it.

I love all of it.

Everything matches so well, and they are just beautiful. I can't wait to take them away with me next year, which is nothing too exciting, just a course at this stage, unless we are called in for a natural disaster.

I think the challenges of COVID have been quite demanding upon everyone over the past 2 years, but particularly on health professionals, that have been hard up to even get some time off.

I was pretty lucky in that regard, as I am a Paeds Nurse, so we did a lot of testing of children, but fortunately we didn't get any positive cases that required admission to date. We had positive cases in the community but none that required admission, as far as I am aware.

So to me, and the Army... It's been an interesting first year. I am currently 2IC for our unit's clinical Platoon. I had this honour bestowed upon me when I returned from my first appointment course.

As a pharmacist in the reserves in our unit, there is only one of me (although I think we recently gained another towards the end of the year), and it's been a bit of a learning curve for everyone. Sounds straight forward and obvious, but not so. In the civilian world, the role of the pharmacist is changing and evolving, and because I am an RN as well, I have skills available to me that most pharmacists don't have, as well as skills and abilities that RN's don't have either. So the 'powers' that be are a little stuck with what they can do with me. Although strictly speaking I was employed as a pharmacist

My job traditionally with the ADF is more of a logistical role. I am responsible for the ordering of medical equipment required both at home and in the health centres, and also for deployment, as the need arises.

However, as I am also immunisation trained, amongst other skills, which the pharmacists that come before me are not, I am able to be deployed in the areas that previously a pharmacist was not considered eligible to cover.

Thank you again, I truly appreciate receiving these special pieces so early in my military career. I will certainly treasure them for years to come, and can't wait to show my parents at Christmas, whom I am sure will share my appreciation. 

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Hi Janis,

My apologies for taking so long to get back to you. Actually, due to COVID and the winding down of Aussie Forces in the Middle East, there were delays in the mailing systems, and I only received your packages yesterday. We consider it a miracle that all our packages arrived just before Christmas, making your gifts even more special.

When I first unfolded the quilt, let's just say I had one of those 'WOW' moments. I was literally speechless. You are obviously very passionate and skilled at what you do. I absolutely love it, and so does my wife, to the point, where I don't want to use it as a quilt. I want to frame it. I am particularly appreciate of the extra detail you included with the RAAF Crest containing my details. 

I'm glad you enjoyed making it, but I must confess, that I can't take credit for the idea. My wife chose the Rosellas because one of her favourite past times is feeding them in our backyard in NSW. We give animals more attention (including out two spoilt cats) as we don't have any children. We asked for the stars as I am a Space Operator back in Australia. I have happily served in the RAAF for 22 years now and this is my fourth deployment.

I enjoyed reading about your lovely family. COVID has disrupted everyone's lives in one way or another, and all we can do is hope that our family and friends make it thoroughly safely and healthily. 

Once again, thank you so much, you've made my Christmas here in the Middle East extra special.

Warmest Regards

.... 

Till next week Friends x      



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