Grati-Tuesday 10 Sep 19

Written by AHQ

10 September 2019

Dear Anne,
Wow, what a great surprise!  The quilt arrived a few weeks ago just as I was leaving to go on leave.  I have only now had time to sit down to write and say thank you.  It’s fantastic and it will sit on my bed in my home once I return to Australia.  I’ve been away for 23 weeks now and will be returning home mid-July.
As you can probably tell, I’m a sports lover.  I fell in love with St George in the 70’s watching Graeme Langlands and Billy Smith.  I used to go to the SCG each Saturday to watch the match of the round.  In the old days the best game from each week would be played at the SCG and St George would often be playing.  The Dragons have had a good start to the year!!  I’m sure they will continue to do well and I look forward to watching the games when I get home.  My love for Rugby and cricket has come from playing those games while I was at school.
The base here is fairly large with many other nations from NATO.  Practically every European country is here in some capacity.  When I arrived in January it was very cold with it snowing from time to time and it would get down to minus eight at night.  It’s now starting to get very warm now it’s summer, but there is still a little bit of snow on the mountains.

I feel very honoured to be able to serve my country on deployment, and it’s great to know we have the support of people back home.  Thank you again for the beautiful quilt and please pass on my thanks to all the quilters who contributed.

Dear Georgina,
I’m writing to say a massive thank you for my personalised    ower Aussie Hero Quilt my lovely sunflower quilt arrived and I couldn’ t be more thrilled! What a special gift to receive whilst on deployment. Something I will cherish for years to come!
Every time I walk into my cabin my bright sunny quilt welcomes me and puts a big smile on my face.
It’s Funny that you say that you’re from Canberra; I lived there for three years when I attended ADFA. I’m originally from a small coastal town and I can still remember my first winter in Canberra!  It was quite a rude shock.
My favourite part about living in Canberra is that you get to experience all four beautiful seasons.   At the moment the temperate is reaching 40 degrees. On my way over here we stopped in Dubai and it was 47 degrees, that was definitely the hottest temperate I’ve ever experienced.
I can’t thank you enough for this quilt it really is a wonderful reminder of all the support we have back home. Thank you for taking the time to make something so special and of course all the effort to post it to me all the way over here. Words cannot express how grateful we are to receive a gift like this.
Kind regards,


Dear Rosina,
Firstly, thank you so much for my beautiful quilt.  when the Chaplain asked for names of people who would like to receive one, I had no idea what to expect.  The craftsmanship and love that I can see have gone into this really blew me away.
So, I suppose I should start with a little about myself….I am the Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer here on-board HMAS Warramunga.  A mouthful of a title I know but in short, I am the second in charge of the Maritime Logistics (ML) department in our frigate.  The ML department runs the support services within the ship such as personnel administration, stores, supply chain, along with the galley and steward services as well as our canteen and also the sick- bay onboard.  Most of our work is behind the scenes making the ship run smoothly, but it’s also quite important.  If there are any issues with any of our services (pay or food or even just running out of salt and vinegar chips at the canteen) you’ll always know about it!  The other part of our job is arranging all of the shore services for our port visits.  The seamanship officers who actually drive the ship of ten comment how we don’t look like we do any work as we’re not up at all hours of the night standing watch, but they are blissfully unaware of how three square meals appear in front of them each day, or even how the ships fuel, food, spare parts and stores end up waiting for us on the wharf when we pull in alongside.  As we say in the department “Logistics just happens!”
I suppose at this juncture you’re probably wondering why a Navy Logistics Officer has such a fascination with aviation.  I actually joined the Navy three years ago after completing a degree in Aerospace Engineering.  The only issue was that they found that I was colour blind and wouldn’t let me be an Engineering Officer (ever seen that movie Little Miss Sunshine) so I ended up getting a job as a Logistics Officer.  Luckily, the longer I’ve done this job, the more I love it.  Being in logistics, I’ve had jobs all over the country.  The most interesting so far has been when I was the Navy Liaison Officer based on Christmas Island.  While I was there supporting our patrol boats, I got to see the great crab migration that David Attenborough talks about in Planet Earth II, truly amazing and once in a lifetime stuff!
So thank you once again for your beautiful quilt, along with the card and other goodies that were tucked in between.  One of the things we Navy people do when we visit other ships is swap patches.  I’ve collected a few but have never know what to do with them.  Now I have a quilt that I can take from ship to ship, I think I’ve found something to sew them on.

Thank you so very much!

Dear Jenny,
I’m a Radiography Officer working in a small coalition health team. But you alreadyknow this after seeing the post on Facebook. This has blown me away because I didn’t think many people would see it! I’m writing to say a massive thank you for my personalised sunflower laundry bag. My lovely LB arrived yesterday and I couldn’t be more thrilled! What a special gift to receive whilst on deployment. Something I will cherish for years to come! Ican’t believe this was the first one youmade, I feel extra special now!
Your sister andI must havevery similar taste.I just adore sunflowers and glad your first LB had a special meaning for you too.

I just wanted to say the essential oil is such a thoughtful addition to the care package. I put some on last night before bed. Trying to take relax away from work herecan be quite difficult as you’re constantly surrounded and reminded of work. So using the oils to unwind is exactly what I need. My mum has also started using oils and raves about them. Melted tim tams still go very very far here. It’s funny I don’t eat that many tim tams at home but here they are a great bargaining tool. It’s also fun to share them with some of the US and UK members apart of our health team. The care package was just perfect and brought me somuch joy. Someof the other girls were very impressed with the oil as well! So you absolutely nailedyour first one.

I can’t thank you enough for LB it really is a wonderful reminder of all the support wehave back home.Thank you for taking the time to make something so special and of course allthe effort to post it to me all the way over here.
Words cannot express how grateful we are to receive a gift like this. 

Hello Jan-Maree, Gail and Sandy,

I am currently deployed in the Air Task Group within the Middle East Region. I just wanted to let you know that I received the quilt that was made for me by the Aussie Heroes Sewing Team in Coffs Harbour. I really appreciate the time and effort all of your members have put into the quilt.

It is amazing!!

It means a lot, getting a special gift from lovely people who think of us when we are away from home for long periods of time. I can`t wait to get home to show it off to my family. 

Hi Kate,

Last week I received the package containing the awesome laundry bag that you graciously made for me. I can say without any doubt whatsoever that this is the greatest present I have ever received in over three years of deployed life. I am also very thankful for the goodies that came with the laundry bag; many people would be surprised that the same branded items that are sold overseas are generally manufactured outside of Australia and do not taste like the good stuff from home.

As a Collingwood supporter, this bag is so awesome that I am hesitant to use it, lest it be ruined by someone in a communal laundry. I loved the detail placed into the bag, from the chronological list of my deployments in the jersey number square on the reverse, to the single eye on the front. I had to explain to my beautiful patient wife, the meaning of the eye. Once she understood, she was suitably impressed.
I was fortunate to receive the package when I did, as my deployment was cut short and I am now back in Australia, enjoying the warm south east Queensland winter. We live in a city of approximately 200,000 (and growing) that borders Brisbane. While I was away, we had a very dry period, with it raining only twice in the four months I was deployed. Whilst almost every day was above 45c where I was deployed, it still managed to rain enough for the base to have areas flooded for over a week.
Receiving your lovely gift has given me an awesome memory, as I think it is time for me to hang up my boots in regards to spending months on end away from my family. Whilst I will be remaining in the Air Force for a few years to come, I think I will leave the overseas work to the younger generation that is now coming into the work force.
In 2006, I deployed to Iraq, and without a laptop, tablet or mobile phone that everyone now takes for granted, the opportunity to talk to (and now skype) with loved ones was almost impossible. Now it is possible to call or skype home every day. Thank you for the effort you have gone to in showing support to deployed personnel. It is very much appreciated.


Dear Sue,

Thank You!!
I cannot express how truely grateful I am for the beautiful quilt you made for me and my family. Having a special item to remind them of me is something that goes a long way in our house.
This is my 3rd deployment in the last 5 years and 5th deployment in 15 years of service.
 As you can imagine this puts a massive strain of my wife and kids but they have been amazing throughout. So this quilt is definitely something special.

 Thank you again for your quilt and support to AHQ.

    Dear Ellen,
My sincerest thanks for making such a beautiful personalised quilt. I love the sunflowers. I am a physiotherapist by trade but am here in a non-clinical role. I have been a physio in the Army for 22 years now. 
This is my second deployment to XXXX – last one was Dec 07 – June 08, opposite half of the year to this time. I’ve also been deployed to Afghanistan (2012), Bougainville (2001) and East Timor (2001). I’ve been lucky and managed to get to every State/Territory in Australia with the Army and a short trip to Malaysia. 

Thank you again for the lovely quilt. It will be treasured. I also have a lot of family connections with Defence and it is nice to feel connected to a larger family.
Thank you,

Dear Bridget,
I thank you so much for your wonderful gift.  It really made my day.  I had such a hard week and having a package turn up saved my sanity, so to speak.  I have served in the Army and Air Force now for 25 years.  I see you have had a successful nursing career.  That is quite a stint.  I do hope you felt like you made change whilst in that role.  I have served five deployments now, two here, one in Afghanistan, one in PNG and one in East Timor.  It has been a challenge but I joined when I was 16 and my dear Mother signed me up upon my request.
It was a very interesting story I did read with regards to the way Aussie Hero Quilts started.  So wonderful to see that there are people out there that care for returned soldiers.  I am unable to volunteer with my work commitments, however I do donate each fortnight to ‘Mates 4 Mates’ and I feel happy that my wage is being garnished to assist others in a time of need.  I feel I make a contribution in one way or another.
I do hope you are enjoying retirement as you obviously deserve the rest.  I can imagine you spent quite some time on your feet.  Please keep up the amazing work you do.  You have absolutely made my deployment.  Have a great day and I hope this letter makes your efforts worth it.
Kindest regards,


Hello Mae,

I want to pass on a very big and belated thank you for my beautiful Aussie Heroes laundry bag which I received whilst on deployment with the Navy in the Middle East last year. I really adored the kittens on my bag – they were so cute. The bag was used a lot during my 9 months at sea, and it hung proudly on my locker from the day I received it.

What you do – in taking the time and care to make these bags – is truly something very special.

The trip we did was long and arduous, and a warship doesn’t have many trappings that make it feel like home. I know I speak for many of the crew on board when I tell you that receiving these bags provides comfort and reminders of our lives back in Australia that go a long way to lifting our spirits during long days and nights.

I am always blown away at the thought that people like you volunteer their time for absolute strangers like me – it meant a lot.
I’m going to keep the bag for the rest of my life as a precious memento of my time overseas with the navy – so thank you again.

I am 37 years old – and I joined the navy when I was 33 as a career change from my corporate career. I live in Sydney with my boyfriend – and when I leave the navy I hope to have a cat again – which my laundry bag reminded me of!
Kind regards,

Hello Jan!

Thank you soo much for your letter! It really made my day and to be honest brought a few quiet tears to my eyes.
I think the incredible work put in by every single person involved in Aussie Hero Quilts is in itself heroic.

AND I LOVE MY QUILT. I can’t express how much I love it. It is so beautiful!!! The colours are stunning and it’s going to really make my home here. Well it’s going to make it feel more like home! And for that I can’t thank you enough!

It really warms my heart to see the effort people such as Alison and Philomena put into this fantastic quilt. No idea how they made my themes, which were quite odd work, but they did an impressive job! I couldn’t be happier!

I’m 26 years old, from Canberra, and have been in the RAAF for 5 years now! I’m currently deployed supporting the C-130 Hercules, our midsized transport aircraft. This is my first deployment, and while I’m no stranger to being away from my friends, family and home, being in a whole new country for such a lengthy period has had its highs and lows!
At home I have a pet greyhound who’s an ex-racer rescue. I love him to bits! 
Please pass on my most sincere thanks to Alison and Philomena for their hard work. I will cherish this blanket!
And please know that the excitement people experience when the package from Aussie Hero Quilts ends up in their hands is real and infectious!
Thank you!!!
P.S. The tim tams were a most welcome treat enjoyed by all the girls in the office!


Dear Clarissa,

Thank you soo much for the gorgeous laundry bag (and tim tams)! The egg and bacon smiley always makes me and EVERYONE who sees it laugh! On top of that, who doesn’t love opening mail!

It was really lovely reading about you and your family, who sound like hard workers and very active people.

I love my job and the opportunities afforded to me because of it. I do spend a lot of time away from home but it’s lovely knowing my family, friends and kind souls such as yourself are thinking about us over here! (Slow roasting in the desert!!! Sooo hot!)

Thank you again for the gorgeous laundry bag. I really love it!
My apologies if you struggle to read this! I strained my hand the other day.
Thank you!


Hello Beverley,

I am the lucky recipient of your hero quilt. I was so excited to rush back after work when I heard that my Hero Quilt had arrived. It honestly made my week so thank you! Thank you for sending through a letter about yourself as well. It seems as though your whole family is in Defence. I am very glad to hear that you are getting out and about travelling and making the most of your retirement. 

I’ll just tell you a little about myself. I am an Air Traffic Controller in the Air Force and am currently based in XXXXXX where I have spent the past 6 years. 
My partner is also an ATC and works with me. We have a cat  who I am very much looking forward to seeing soon. I have just booked a trip to the South of France when I return.  I cannot wait to have wine and cheese, that is definitely one of the things I have missed the most on deployment.
Once again, thank you so much for my quilt and laundry bag (oh and the tim tams too J), but most of all thank you for being a part of such an amazing organisation – Aussie Hero Quilts. Thank you Thank you Thank you 
Kind Regards,


Dear Jan-Maree

Recently our Regiment received some of your laundry bags for our work in the recent floods in Townsville. I would like to thank you and your organisation for your donation and keeping us in your thoughts which is even more appreciated.

Thank You once again,


Dearest beautiful Susan,

Now that I have finished bawling my eyes out I can write you a quick email to let you know that your parcel arrived – and oh my goodnessssssssss, I am so appreciative and beyond grateful for you and your families amazing efforts – I absolutely love my quilt! It could not have possibly been more perfect!!!!!  I am so very humbled that you all devoted your time to create such a perfect parcel for me, someone that you do not even know.

I will put actual pen to paper and write you a letter to your home address in the coming days/weeks. You are a beautiful soul for doing what you do – I can only try to express in words just how much your commitment to providing the troops with such fabulously made gifts, that I for one, will treasure forever!!!!!
I am currently in my 6th month of my tour.   I am missing my family very much. My husband is at home, he is also in the military, with our daughter and son. 
Thank you again, and massive hugs for you.

Good afternoon Toni,
I was recently delighted to receive the laundry bag you so kindly made for me whilst I am deployed. I am currently deployed on Operation Mazurka which is the Australian contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers task in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the time and effort you have taken to make my laundry bag (I too love the soccer balls!); I am already putting it to good use. The contribution of people like yourself and the rest of the Aussie Hero Quilts team to maintaining morale amongst our deployed troops is truly appreciated. As an Air Force member, the link to someone who is also in the Air Force is an added bonus!
Once again, thank you for taking the time to make my laundry bag and to also write (and the extra surprise). I hope that you do continue to support our troops through the excellent endeavours of Aussie Hero Quilts and that many more soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women get to appreciate your fine work.

Take care.

And just before we go.  The Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Gary Wight, was pleased to present this quilt to Navy veteran, Bear, recently. 

Huge thanks to Kerry B for the great quilt top, to Arthur for digitising the submariner’s dolphins and for creating the badges on the quilt,  and finally, thanks to Philomena for the quilting.  Love the fact that this quilt, like many of our quilts, are a team effort. 


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

Jan-Maree xx

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