Christmas messages from the troops to you!!!

Written by AHQ

23 December 2014

Usually around this time of year I ask quilters to send me Christmas messages that I publish in a post and then circulate to all the troops as much as I can.  This year I decided to do something a little different. I asked those who are deployed to send some Christmas messages to YOU, our quilters.  Where the names have been included permission has been given.  I even managed to get a few photos to share but it wasn’t easy with the increased security and the hours that everyone is working so I hope you enjoy them.

The first message we have is from Rear Admiral Trevor Jones.   He has only recently taken over from Major General Craig Orme and already he has noticed the presence of our quilts and laundry bags in the Middle East.  When I sent out the request for messages he was very quick to respond.


From Rear Admiral Trevor Jones

To Ms Jan-Maree Ball and our Beloved Aussie Hero Quilters,

While I expect many of our people to take the opportunity to personally send warm wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all of those kind hearted individuals who claim membership of the Aussie Hero Quilters Guild I nonetheless wish to re-affirm my own very great appreciation for the magnificent, selfless work of you and your colleagues in firstly taking an interest in the lives of our deployed sailors, soldiers and airmen but also in translating that interest into gifts of profound sentiment to them.

On behalf of every ADF member deployed into the Middle East Region, and from the deepest recesses of our souls, please accept our very sincere well wishes for a most festive and joyous Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Very Respectfully Yours

Trevor Jones

Rear Admiral AO CSC RAN

Commander Joint Task Force 633 


From the Deputy Commander Joint Task Force 636

To the wonderful Aussie Heroes Quilters

On behalf of every Australian soldier, sailor, airman or women that you have done your magic for, and sent us one of your wonderful laundry bags or quilts – we thank you. You’re generous with your time, selfless with the fact that you pay for your material yourselves, and thoughtful in that you take the effort to get to know the individual for whom you are making the item. We wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas with your family and a Happy New Year.  We will be thinking of you on Christmas Day and consider you a part of the Joint Task Force 636 family.

Warm regards, Susan Coyle 

Susan Coyle




It is not only serving members whose spirits are buoyed by what we do but also their families.  Sometimes family members keep in touch long after their loved one has returned home as they believe in what we are doing.  The following message is from one such person.

From the mother of a Recipient.

I’m the mother of a serving soldier who is a recipient of the amazing kindness of the AHQ folks.
In a world so troubled and in disarray, the kindness and generosity of spirit – for which AHQ has become renown – brings to mind one of my favourite quotes:

How far that little candle throws his beams!

So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, much later adapted to “So shines a good deed in a weary world” by David Seltzer for the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

To all of you who are truly making a difference in a world which more than ever, needs good to triumph; I thank you.
You will never fully know just what it’s meant to both the recipients and us, their families, to know that folks care enough to go to the lengths you do to show you care and support our serving men and women in the ADF.
The quilts and laundry bags are simply incredible! You can be assured that those works of art will become family heirlooms for sure!

To Jan Maree ….four simple words: BLESS YOU! – THANK YOU!

From our family to you and yours; I wish you all a safe and blessed christmas!
You have my eternal gratitude for your kindness.

Cheers, A Soldier’s Mum

From a soldier who is now back at home with his loved ones.

Dear Team at Aussie Hero Quilts,

Thank you all for ongoing support to our soldiers, sailors and airmen serving overseas. The gifts you provided us are a welcome reminder of home and the support we have while doing our job away from our own families and friends. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and the numerous designs and patterns are fantastic, making our working and living areas that little bit brighter.

All the best for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas from Bean Around the MEAO, 
the cafe in Al Minhad Air Base, Dubai.

From Afghanistan and Al Minhad Air Base…

Jan-Maree and Team AHQ,

        As my deployment finally enters the final few weeks I pause to remember those friends and family back in Australia preparing to celebrate the Festive Season. Regardless of faith or beliefs, Christmas brings people together to share a meal, exchange presents

and spend quality time together. Rest assured we will do the same here, with carols last night, a Santa “FUN” run on the 24th and then of course a big slap up Christmas Lunch at the ADF mess with our British, Kiwi, Dutch and American mates. Hopefully Santa will find

us here in the desert and leave some presents under one of our many trees for all of our exceptional men and women of the ADF.

So from me to you Jan-Maree and all of the team at AHQ,

Merry Christmas

Frohe Weihnachten

Buon Natale

Joyeux Noel

Vrolijk Kerstfeest 


Dear Aussie Hero Quilts,

Many thanks to you for your wonderful efforts and fabulous quilting.

Since arriving in June our soldiers have received their quilts and laundry bags. All of them have generated great discussion and praise for the work and generosity of all the quilters.

We would also like to thank the quilters for their words of support and thanks which come with the quilts. We are very proud to be part of something that you value.

We have proudly displayed them here in Kabul and were thrilled to see the photos of them on the internet. We hope this serves in some way to let your quilters know how thankful we are for their contribution.

So from Kabul, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.

Thanks for your support.

Force Communications Element, Kabul


Merry Christmas to everyone who donates their time, effort and talents to making Aussie Hero Quilts possible. Thank you for making our deployments that little bit more bearable. 


I am a soldier, I’m paid for my time and to give service to my country.

But you also give time and service to your country by supporting us.

The difference is, is you’re not paid. You give your time to creating master pieces in cloth.

We are grateful for the care you give and the warmth it brings us.

Thanks for your personalised creations and most importantly your time.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Years.


LCPL Lynch

Dear Quilters,

Thank you for your tireless efforts in producing the quilts that bring so much joy to the people here. Everyday I look at a different part of my quilt and notice new things. And seeing other people receive their quilts brings excitement to everyone at work. You do such a fabulous job, you are considered part of the deployment team. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season with your families.  


Hi Jan-Maree,

I’d like to say a big thank you to you and all your lovely ladies for your work, support and the effort you guys have put in this year. In particular the last 6 months since I have been overseas. I know Andrew definitely appreciated it as well.

It’s good to know there are some good people still out there who really care about people who are serving overseas all over the world. I’ve been able to see the reactions of a few people when they have received quilts, or when they have gone through our laundry bag stash – there have definitely been a lot of happy people, and also really impressed with the creativity.

Anyway, I’d just like to wish you, and all the girls and boys who helped out, a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, you all take care and all the best for the New Year.

Thanks again,



        I would like to wish you and your quilters all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

        I appreciate the efforts you all make to provide us with the quilts and laundry bags.

        It brings a nice touch of home to this part of the world.

        It is most appreciated.

Many thanks

All the Best


Hello Aussie Hero Quilters! 

Its currently around -7 degrees at night here in Kabul so the quilts are definitely being put to good use! The Australians here in Kabul have recently inherited a recreational building from the Kiwis which is called Camp Grant, I think you will be pleased to hear that the walls of Camp Grant have been covered in Aussie Hero Quilts for the Christmas period – helping to provide a homely atmosphere for all the Army, RAAF and Navy personnel at this time of year.  

Thank you to all of you, your hard work and dedication is very much appreciated and your kindness will never be forgotten. I, for one, will keep my quilt for life. 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and best wishes for 2015. 


A message for the Quilters of Aussie Heroes

Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year to the amazing team of Aussie Quilters.
You all bring so much joy, color and happiness to so many of us Australian Soldiers.
The gift you give of your time and thoughts is felt by each and every one of us.
In return all we have to give you is our heartfelt and most sincerest thank you.
Merry Christmas to you all and God Bless.       

Dear Aussie Hero Quilt-ers. 

With Christmas around the corner, there is a rich tapestry of Aussie servicemen and servicewoman strategically placed in lands afar. We are framed in an unique bond of companionship and share a deep pride in our nation. We are of many colors and creeds, with our collective and individual skills forming a patchwork which we term the Australian Defence Force. 

In many ways your quilts reflect us deployed. Painstakingly crafted, expertly melded together, each with an individual and distinct character, and finally framed in love. 

The term ‘Hero’ is often bandied around. If there is any ‘Hero’ associated with serving ones country, it should be a shared mantle. For indeed each one of you Aussie Hero Quilt-ers is a privileged member of this select group. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families, and thank you!



I just wanted to say thanks for all the support that Aussie Hero’s Quilts give and the morale that it brings to us away from home. 

I’ve been on my trip for 5 months now (2 to go!!) and in that time I have received a personalised laundry bag and quilt – both Beatles design. 
I love them both and was very excited when the packages arrived. I’m certain I can speak on behalf of us all and say that everyone appreciates their gifts a lot. 
Hope you have a safe and happy festive season, Merry Christmas! 



From Israel

I would like to Thank you and you organisation for you hard work and support it is very humbling and would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.


From HMAS Toowoomba

Dear Jan & Quilters;

                                       I wish to thank you for what I can only say is an amazing quilt. What you do for us out here is nothing short of amazing. I personally would like to thank you so much for my quilt and laundry bag, it will always remind me of what you have done and the difference it has made to myself, being away from my family.   You brightened up my whole deployment and I know many others alike on Toowoomba.

   I wish all of you a very safe, happy and joyous Christmas and New Year with your family and friends and again, thank you.




I just wanted to say a big Thank You for all the work that you have put in to the Aussie Hero Quilts and for the quilt and washing bag that I received. It was a huge surprise to get the a quilt that came from a friend that I know and care about a great deal and the washing bag that I got was just wonderful. I hope that you and your family have an happy and safe Christmas and fantastic New Year! 

Many Thanks, 


Jan-Maree and the hero quilt team,

Soon it will be Christmas and hopefully we will be home and in the arms of our loved ones.

Christmas is a time of joy and festivity, but most of all a time of selflessness and giving.

Jesus taught us that by being selfless we can give more back to humanity than anyone else. 

For the last five months we have served our nation with pride and it is your encouragement from home that serves as the basis of that pride and forged our will to tackle and overcome any obstacle in our path.

Have a very merry Christmas and to all those responsible in keeping me warm during the 

deployment, I thank you.


I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the quilters for doing an amazing job over the year it is much appreciated by all. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year. All the best for 2015 and safe travels. 



Jan-Maree and All at Aussie Hero Quilts,

Merry Christmas to all.

Thank you all once again for your special gift that has kept me warm and made life on board a little more cozier. 


A special message for Jenny S,

                Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope you all have a wonderful Xmas period in Lake Tyers surrounded by family and loved ones. The efforts and kind heartedness you showed towards myself when you made that lovely Quilt and Dobie bag will never be forgotten. God bless you and everyone else like you for your selfless generosity. Thank you. 


To all the beautifully talented and kind hearted women of Aussie Hero Quilters group,

Your creations this year, have not only brought warmth and colour to our ship on this most recent deployment to the Middle East, but it has also brought immense comfort to those who are missing home and their loved ones. This year has been long and tiresome, and we are all looking forward to returning to Australia in time for some much needed rest and relaxation before continuing our service in the new year. 

Your quilts, dhobi bags and thoughtful gift packages are more than a memento of a creative hobby – to us they have been a welcome source of joy and comfort and will forever be a reminder to us that no matter what ocean we sail, no matter how far we are from home – there are people back home in Australia who remember us, who think of us and appreciate the efforts we make. You made our days all the more brighter.. to all of you I am grateful for your letters and my gifts –  I will treasure them always

Merry Christmas to each of you, I wish you and your families a happy and joyous festive season. Let 2015 be one of peace and happiness

Ps. Keep a keen eye on your mail boxes, as there maybe a few small tokens of appreciation headed your way from “Santa’s lil helpers in grey cams” 

love and best wishes

Kindest Regards


Hello Jan-Maree,

I would like to thank all the lovely quilters from the bottom of my heart for their amazing efforts and loving support not only for my quilt but for every quilt they make and wish them a very merry Christmas and Safe New Year.  I know that my quilt has been very useful through this time away from my family and will always be used in the years to come.  I have the utmost respect for all the people involved in making these quilts and the timeless hours they put into making them.   I felt that my quilt was made even more special when a personal letter was posted with it and when I received mine I felt that it came from someone who had put a lot of time and effort in to making my quilt which to me, made it even more special.

Kind regards,



Good morning Jan, I am just sending you an email in regards to the fantastic work you and your team has done for the HMAS TOOWOOMBA crew. It is truly touching knowing that even though we’re so far away from home, there is still alot of people thinking of us  in these times of hardship.  We all feel extremely privileged to know that there are people out in the community taking time out of their own day to look after us. I hope we are doing you and Australia proud, and so I wanted to wish everyone at Aussie Hero Quilts a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year with all your family and friends.

Thank You,


From HMAS Success

First from the Chaplain

A very merry Christmas to all at Aussie Hero Quilts! Thank you for the sense of connection with home you give to our people, and for the joy you give them when they see their quilts for the first time. Thanks also for making us feel appreciated and recognised by people at home – it makes a big difference when we’re so far away from our own special people.

Every Christmas blessing to you and yours,



I would like to wish the Quilting Team a very Merry Christmas and thank them for the wonderful support that the team provides to the men and women serving overseas. Words cannot describe the joy on the face of each crew member that receives a quilt which expresses the energy, dedication and support expended by the quilter. 

I hope you all enjoy quality time with family and friends over the break and into the New Year.

Kindest Regards,


For  Ann and Murray W from WA from Lieutenant Commander Chris Straughan, with many, many thanks for such a special gift; I love both the quilt and the bag.  I wish you both a very merry Christmas and hope you have a great new year


Hi there,

I think it is wonderful what you all do for those of us who spend time away from home for our country and families, especially at this time of year.  It helps us remember why we joined up, and who we are doing this for.  Receiving gifts whilst away, especially something that is hand made, makes being away that bit easier.

Thank you all so much.

Kind regards, 


Good Evening,

I would just like to wish all of the Aussie Hero Quilters a very special merry Christmas and happy New Year. All of us here are very grateful for what you do and it makes us feel like we are not alone whilst away from the Australian landscape. May you all have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2015.


The photo of the little stocking was sent to me by a fellow who received it in a US care package.  He thought I would enjoy it and I did – and I knew you would too.  

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

Jan-Maree xx

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  1. Sue Niven

    Merry Christmas to you all.

  2. Outback Crafter - Debra

    Wow-ee, they are great messages. I think some 'sand' might have come through the email though.

    Merry Christmas to all my fellow Aussie Hero Quilters, recipients and supporters. May 2015 see more of our wonderful service personnel safe at home with their families.


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