Grati-Tuesday 15 November 16

Written by AHQ

15 November 2016

I am off to Wagga tomorrow morning.  I have been asked to run one of the activities for Defence Force Day at the Wagga Christian School on Thursday.  I will be driving back on Friday in time to go out for dinner and have quite a busy weekend scheduled too so if I am a bit slow answering emails over the next few days you will understand why.   Please bear with me.

Hi Bridget, 

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for my amazing quilt.  Nothing can take the smile from my face after receiving the quilt. 

A bit about myself and why I asked for the dogs and jets..  I have been in the Air Force for over 21years and work in Communications..  Whilst I love my job and the concept of Communications my passion and hobby has always been animals and training dogs..  I have two shepherds at home, Rhino and Mika. Rhino is a failed RAAF Military Working dog or in the Air Force, ‘Not yet competent’ as no one fails.. I like to say the Air Force life style didn’t suit him..  He was from the ‘R’ litter and was named after the Air Force Super Hornet which are affectionately called ‘Rhino’… and he is the unofficial mascot for the Air Force Super Hornets. 

So this is why I asked for German Shepherds and the Super Hornet in particular..  And you nailed both..  I can’t say thank you enough.    I’ve attached images I had taken with Rhino in front of the jets… 

I grew up in Adelaide and as I said I’ve been in the Air Force for over 21years and lived in Wagga, Brisbane, Darwin, Newcastle and Canberra.. I have also travelled to every state and capital city in Australia and some not so popular touristy cities..  I also love to travel, and I have been around the world a  few times for holidays and work.  (Not always the top tourist destinations for work :-))

This is my 5th deployment to the Middle East region, providing communications to our deployed personnel, which ensures they have the ability to contact home.  I have never ordered a quilt before, unsure why.. But I am glad I did. 
Thank you for your hobby, you have an amazing talent and I love my quilt.  It has come at  the perfect time as it’s coming into our ‘winter ‘ here and the nights are actually getting quite chilly, down to 30 degrees. 


Dear Sue,
First of all thank you for the beautiful owl quilt you made for me!

My daughter has just turned 18 months and she loves owls! When she sees them on skype she is saying Birdie mummy. This will be a treasure in our family for a very long time. So again, Thank you.💗

To Joan & Robin,

I hope this finds you both in good health. I have received the laundry bag you made for me. Upon receiving the bag it was put to immediate good use.

The craftsmanship of the bag is impeccable and is what I needed. I just got to keep on eye on it so the heathen kiwis don’t mess with it. 

It’s a shame the wallabies might not be as strong as your bag but who knows. I like everyone else has received bags and quilts appreciate the work you do for all deployed personnel. It lifts the spirits of my young soldiers knowing people at home, strangers, think of them.

I have attached a photo of me and my bag.


Dear Ann,

I’m currently posted to RAAF Base Tindal, near Katherine in the Northern Territory. As I take possession of my lovely laundry bag here in the UAE, I’m serving as an Aircraft Technician with 75Sqadron Royal Australian Air Force. This is my forth rotation through the Middle East area of Operations and I’m missing my wife and children very much.

I hope you and your friends enjoyed making the bags and quilts as much as the guys and girls over here enjoy receiving them. It’s nice to know that some people spend the time to make something for us. My wife and Aunt are both fairly handy seamstresses and I know all too well what a lot of ladies charged with tea and cake can do. Stitch and Bitch they use to call it! Ha ha…

Once again thank you for the laundry bag, I’m already using it as are many of my work mates. I’ll say thank you on their behalf and please forgive them if they don’t write, as we are all, unfortunately very busy. Also please pass on our gratitude to all the other ladies at Draft Daze Sewing World and keep up the good work…



G’day Lynn and Arthur,

I hope this finds you both in good health. Thank you for the quilt you made. It is excellent and arrived at the right time as the temperature has dropped. 

The craftsmanship of the quilt is impeccable and I know it will be put to good post deployment for my daughter who I’ve only seen for 10 days, but I know she’s a rugby fan.

I have attached a photo of myself holding my quilt. Once again I thank you for your dedication to helping all deployed personnel.


Good Morning Bridget, 

I just wanted to send you a quick email and pass on my thanks for the laundry bag you made for me and  the chocolates you sent. It has certainly brighten my otherwise dull room and is extremely useful. It will also continue to be useful throughout the rest of my travels with the Defence Force. 

I thought I would just let you know a little bit about myself (so you know who you are supporting). I am also married with two children. My daughter is 3 and my son is 2. My husband does a fantastic job of looking after them and running our household while I am away. He is also in the Air Force so our lifestyle can at times be very dynamic and difficult. Your gesture of making laundry bags not only helps people in their immediate situation but for me has shown support at a time when I certainly question my choice in career, I love the Air Force and I believe in what our Country is doing over here however it is a sacrifice on our families and that is a burden that I carry with me daily. 

Good luck to your daughter with her HSC. I know this can be a stressful time not only for her but also for the entire family! Also although I am not in the Army any questions that your son may have about joining please feel free to ask. 

Thanks for your support 


Hi Joan and Robin, thanks you for the Oriana Laundry Bag, I received it yesterday (Thu 10 Nov 16).  It is beautiful, I used to go to the Melbourne – Port Melbourne Pier when I was younger and have walked through the Oriana a few times.  It was a reminder to when I was quite a bit younger and the world was a safer place.


I used the bag last night, it was great.

Thank you for the time and effort you have put into make this laundry bag.  It is very much appreciated.  I note you have been making them for 3 years, you both are unsung heroes. The laundry bags provide a little bit of home, which is good for morale for all deployed personnel.

The bag will be a reminder of my time deployed and also of the generous people who make the time to think of the ADF deployed and provide such unique Laundry Bags and Quilts.

Once again thank you the effort of making the Laundry Bag, I really do appreciate it.    


G’day Lynn and Arthur,

I am writing to you to say thank you very much for the wonderful quilt and laundry bag that you made for me. They are so well made and were better than I could have imagined. The quilt will take pride of place in the lounge room back at our house in Port Stephens. My wife and kids have seen the pictures of it with their names on it and absolutely love it. I also appreciated the lollies I got with it, which did not last long! Thank you for adding your letter to the package also. It was great to hear about who you are and that you have done over 500 quilts. I can say without any question that what you do makes a big difference to the team deployed overseas for long periods of time away from home and their loved ones. All the people working for me have been showing off their quilts and really appreciate the effort put into them. 

Thank you for your kind words and effort for us all over here. It is really appreciated. Good luck to Arthur getting off probation sometime soon…. I am still no where near getting of my probation with my beautiful wife 🙂

Kind regards

Hi Sue,

Thank you so much for the quilt you made - everyone I work with say that it’s the best one

they have seen (and for some this is their 2nd/3rd deployment). I hope it wasn’t blasphemy

making something like this given you are an All Blacks supporter!

I am a Fighter Controller with the Royal Australian Navy and deployed as part of an RAAF

aircrew. Due to the intensity of our deployment we are only away for 3.5 months, so not long

to go now and should be home before Christmas. The deployment has had its moments

but they always do!

Everyone in my crew have received their quilts and it was a real morale booster so thanks

to you all.

Kind regards,


Hi Katie,

Sorry for the late response. I have been away in a different location and the
mail has been waiting for me. I received your care packages with all the
goodies, laundry bag and quilt. I wanted to say a big thank you. I'm honoured
to receive such generosity from a complete stranger and the amount of effort
that must have gone into making them is amazing. The quilt is spot on. Your
research was obviously excellent. Rest assured, Mr Piggy is taking pride and
place on my bed right now.

You'll be happy to know that we were fortunate enough to watch both of the
finals and I'm sorry that the Storm couldn't get a win for you. I'm a Broncos
fan so my hopes were dashed a little earlier.

We are going well here but receiving small gifts like these certainly brightens
our days. It's humbling to see the effort that has been put in. Support from
home is one of the precious things about wearing this uniform. It gives us
purpose and meaning. I'm glad that you shared your talent with me particularly
because it's starting to get a bit cooler now so I'll need the quilt.

Once again thank you very much Katie. I feel very blessed.


Hi Julie-ann,

I am writing to you to say a big thankyou for my
laundry bag that I just received. It is fantastic, thankyou so much for the
effort you put into it. All of the team here are so appreciative of the quilts
and laundry bags they are getting through the amazing work of everyone at
Aussie Hero Quilts. Thankyou for the delicious snacks with my laundry bag, they
will not last long! It's so great to get anything sent from back in Oz let
alone these amazing pieces of work.

I'm sorry to hear that your husband has MS. My
aunty has been living with MS for a long time as well and her husband died
earlier this year. Luckily one of my cousins still lives at home to help her.
My family is all from SA as well so it's possible that you even know my aunty,
Denise Waters. It's great to hear that you have regular time with your
grandchildren, young kids are so much fun but I remember how busy they make
things too.


Hi Julie-Ann,

I am writing to you to say a big thank you for my
laundry bag that I just received. It is fantastic, thank you so much for the
effort you put into it. All of the team here are so appreciative of the quilts
and laundry bags they are getting through the amazing work of everyone at
Aussie Hero Quilts. Thank you for the delicious snacks with my laundry bag, they
will not last long! It's so great to get anything sent from back in Oz let
alone these amazing pieces of work.

Thank you once again for all your work in making
so many laundry bags. It is a fantastic thing you do and really something that
everyone here looks forward too. Our rotation from 2SQN with the E-7A wedgetail
will be heading home in the next few weeks.


Dear Helen and Pat

Thank you for the quilt. It is quite magnificent! It was waiting for me when I returned from leave.

You have inadvertently included something that makes
the quilt incredibly special.
At some stage in their careers, soldiers will have a
callsign bestowed upon them. It is a bit like a nickname.

About two months ago, the Task Force commander had to
contact me over the radio network.
He asked to speak to Callsign XXXXX

No one knew who this was. I stepped forward and said:

"I think he means me."

The commander has previously accused me of being
easily distracted ... "Oh look! There's a XXXXX!""

He now says he thought up the callsign because I flit
from subject to subject.

Regardless ... my Callsign is and always will be
And the quilt has several panels containing


On my return to Australia I am leaving Darwin where I
have lived quilt-free for the past 12 years, and will move to the High Country
of Victoria where your quilt will be put to good use.

Thank you so much for making something so special. With very best wishes



Hi, I would just like to drop you an email from the Middle East Region to thank you and

the ladies of the sewing group as well as the owners of 'Kraft Daze Sewing World'

for making and suppling the laundry bags. 

A momentous task that you have undertaken does make a difference and makes this

region that little bit more bearable with some homemade items from home (the family

can only send so much). 

I am currently deployed here in a security role although my ADF position is as a 'Military

Working Dog Handler' (Reservist). 

This is my first deployment and is in duration of 7 months and I can admit it is hard being

away from my wife and children (3 kids) whom all reside in Queensland. 

It is refreshing to see that their are people within Australia that appreciate the role that

we undertake and the sacrifices that ADF personal make in safeguarding the people of

Australia and ultimately the world in the fight against terrorism.

Again, thank you and your gestures are appreciated.

Sincerely Yours


And last but not least, a couple of ladies could not get their AHQ Dinner feedback into me in time for the post and because I have been in Perth I could not put it up last week so here it is now


I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the “Aussie Heroes Quilts (and Laundry Bags)” end of year reception on Saturday night which was hosted by “Hartman Navy Base” in Canberra. What a great night it was too, never dreamt that I would be mixing with so many men and women that help to keep our shores safe. Quite an honour.

I also met quite a few of the ladies from interstate that are part our organisation and it was great to get an insight into how Aussie Hero Quilts has affected their lives, from those that have been with Jan-Maree  for 5 years down to those that joined us a couple of months ago. All with many stories to tell. Can now put faces to names when the Blog comes through.

My quilting friends from Pennant Hills (Cherrybrook) group Bridgit and Beverly were kind enough to drive me there and back and Maxine, and her husband  Malcolm from Canberra, very generously put me up for the night. My appreciation goes out to you all and of course to you Jan-Maree for including me in a wonderful evening.

Joan McK


Both my sister and myself enjoyed the whole weekend – catching up with my friends was always going to be a bonus.  Then to have Saturday night and Sunday morning was wonderful. We were so into chatting about the evening on our drive back to my friends place that night, that I missed a turn and we had to get the map out and find ourselves and get back onto the right roads again !  A good laugh.  Then stayed up for a long time just chatting about it with my friend.  I was on a high for a few days, so can only just imagine how you were.  I think I needed to wait a few days to ponder on the weekend before responding to your request for us to send in our views. I have been going over the dinner and breakfast a lot since we have been home.  It still blows me away how a quilt arriving at the right time saved a life.  I guess I hadn’t really comprehended the immense impact of what we do.  Very humbling. And something that I will remember for a long time.  The whole Dinner and Breakfast has really touched me.  Made me want to come back and really fire up the sewing machine and go for it – until sparks flew out!
Meeting with the Defence people was interesting and great, and they were ‘normal’*:) happy even though they were very important people (here is my ignorance showing)  One chap said ‘hello I’m Brett’ I later found out he was a Rear Admiral – wow, should I have saluted or curtsied! I found them easy to approach and chat with.  I particularly loved hearing about their work on deployment and learnt a lot about what our deployed people do. Spent some time reading chests, talking about their medals, insignias, the stripes, circles etc on their shoulders – was fascinating. This was after I assured them that I wasn’t some pervert!

Your speech was excellent, not too long, very informative and touching.  Several times while you were speaking I could hear the people around me reacting to what you were saying and at other times you could have heard a pin drop, you had us all engaged. Lots of soft ooh, ahh, wow’s were heard (gee, I’m sounding like the teacher I was a few years ago, marking your presentation !)

Meeting up with other quilters was valuable.  It gave us a chance to say hello, swap techniques, ask quilting questions and swap email addresses. I even met the other Raylene.

Even though I have written a lot here, I still struggle to find adequate words to show what the dinner and breakfast really meant.  Like is said earlier, it really touched me and I feel really proud and humble to be a part of Aussie Hero Quilts.  So…  THANK YOU Jan-Maree 

Are we doing it again next year ????  PLEASE *:) happy  No pressure LOL


Till next time, keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree xx

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