Two very different subjects…..and I am sorry it has taken me so long to share this story but I have just been so busy… 

First Challenge coints.  What are challenge coins….

Imagine you’re at a military event. A serving member is being honored for excellence. As they approach the senior officer to receive their award, they salute and then reaches out to shake hands.
In the senior offier’s palm, before he clasps hands, you notice a glint of metal. Wondering what that is? Well, you’ve seen your first challenge coin.
A challenge coin is a specially designed coin. It’s often given to someone to honor ahem for a special achievement.

Challenge coins are small, metal coins that fit in the palm of your hand. They are made of metal. Each 

challenge coin has a unique design that belongs to the organization it represents. 

The design can include the emblem or insignia of the organizationand perhaps the organisation’s motto. 
Though they are usually round, some challenge coins come in other shapes. Special designs even include cutouts or unique features, like a bottle opener tool.
Challenge coins represent organizations, units, and teams. They can also represent an achievement, an anniversary or a special event. 
At our Annual Thank You Dinner this year members of the Defence Force sitting at the tables with our volunteers presented each volunteer at their table with Special Coin created by Defence to thank the volunteers who were present for their contribution to Aussie Heroes. 

At the end of the night, I am told that a few of the coins did not get presented for one reason or another,   Funnily enough, that included the coin that was supposed to be presented to me by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force VCDF.  Now I wasn’t going to share this story but when I told VCDF that he just laughed and assured me he was happy to be called out for his ommision, he is, afterall, human. He is also an absolute gentleman and when he realised he had taken the coin hom with him he was mortified. I was contacted on Monday to see if I had time to meet with him and fortunately I was able to visit his office before I left Canberra. I am not actually sure that this was not preferable to receiving my coin at the dinner. It was lovely to attend VCDF’s office, to see where he works, admire the view and especially to see the laundry bag he had received last year hanging in pride of place on the wall in his office.  Isn’t it nice to know that even the very senior blokes really appreciate our gifts and that they display them with pride. 

The other subject I wanted to share in this post is one about Fallen Warrior Quilts. I often don’t publicly share the details of the Fallen Warrior Quilts we present to the families of those who pass away during, or as a result of, their service but this story is a little special.  

This post was shared on our Facebook page so it is not private and I thought those of you who sew for us and who dont have Facebook would like to see it.  The recipient of these two quilts is actually already one of our recipients from a deployment in recent years.   Tragically she lost her first husband in an F111 crash 20 years ago.  She met her second husband and remarried several years later but sadly he fell victim to cancer just recently. We were asked to make a quilt in memory of each of her husbands and that seemed only fitting. Life can be cruel sometimes and two quilts can never replace two much loved husbands but it never hurts to let someone know that you care and that is what our quilts do. This is what the recipient posted on our Facebook page. 

I’m so very grateful for the 2 beautiful memorial quilts for the two military husbands I have lost 20 years apart. I received them from the Chaplain today and I am weeping with the kindness of it all. I already have an Aussie Hero Quilt of my own from my deployment to the Middle East. Now I have two more so my future grandkids will be able to play on the quilts of the grandfathers they’ll never get to meet. Thank you to all the wonderful quilters who contributed!

If you have made poppy blocks and sent them in you may never know where they end up but you can be assured of one thing… they will be put to good use, and the resulting quilts are always cherished. 

Till next time… keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree  xx