Grati-Tuesday 25 July 17

Written by AHQ

25 July 2017

This first email as to be the email of the week.  It seems to tell the story of our quilts and bags from hearing about them to receiving them …. Enjoy…. 

Good Morning Jan-Maree,

Thank you so much for your email.

I wish to let you know that I have received my quilt safely in the mail from Gay on Thursday 13th July, 2017.

When I first arrived overseas I did not expect anything like this at all. Then in amongst some briefings, only a few days in to arriving, we were gifted with a pile of laundry bags.. we could choose one to make our own, to keep.. when the pile was placed down I caught a glimpse of one bag in particular, which caught my eye. It had me quite curious on what it may look like & I thought.. I would like that one.

After the briefings finished many members headed over to the pile & began selecting their own laundry bag. I was lucky enough to pick up the one that had had my attention from the start & it was Completely Lovely – then I started to unfold it – there was soooo many surprises of colours & shapes that I adore – it is Perfect!.

I found a letter inside from Ann W (Krazy Daze Kwilters) the creator of the laundry bag & I could not be anymore thankful to her for what she has made. Not knowing who may end up with your creation but making it with such care & dedication makes everything you all do soooo special to all of us. I hope you were able to see the video (8th July, 2017) we had put together in celebration for the many laundry bags & quilts we have received here – there is a picture of me right at the end holding my laundry bag. (I was unfortunately not able to include the quilt from Gay as it arrived just after the video was posted but I have taken some photos of each creation & attached them in this email.)

Shortly after we received our laundry bags I began to think of ideas I might like on a quilt. There are many things I hold dear – my family especially & being an Aunty –  so it took me a while to decide how to write it but I mainly wanted to provide an insight to the creator of the kind of person I am & to see what their imagination would make. My favourite colour of all time is blue & then everything else just fell into place. I sent my request away not knowing what to expect though it was exciting to think of the possibilities of what it may look like. When I received your email, Jan-Maree, I started to keep an eye out for the mail.. then it arrived.

I hurried back to my tent (room) & began to open the box carefully – quick question .. how do you all fit such a big quilt into such a small mail posting box ..?? I commend you all on that one.

Once I had opened up the package I was greeted with a letter & an extra surprise.. a butterfly. Such kind gifts to receive from back home.

As I started to unfold the quilt.. still amazed on how it all fitted in the box.. I began to see an airplane, a shot of rainbow & many stars.. surrounded by books & crafts – all on an array of Blue.

My quilt was created by Gay S. A lady who lives in rural NSW.  I am forever grateful for all her hard work she has put into my quilt, making all my insights come to life. 

May I just say to Gay –  this quilt you made for me .. it is Absolutely Beautiful, Stunning & soooo Wonderfully Created. I could not of asked for anything more – I am definitely one lucky girl who will treasure this forever. It is me all over & absolutely I love it.

I do wish to send my thanks to all of you – Everyone, Every person, who makes up this amazing dedicated group of people back home – spread near & far –  who endlessly create works of the heart through quilts & laundry bags.

The most meaningful, caring & generous team known as Aussie Hero Quilts. Your work is cherished forevermore.

Kind Regards,


Good afternoon Pennie,

I was absolutely delighted to receive your kind letter and marvellous laundry bag in the mail today! I love the pathology theme you have used with the clever embroidery. I’m going to be the flashiest  scientist in our lab when it comes to dirty washing!!

How coincidental that your husband works in the pathology sector. The fields that he worked in when you first met are the predominant fields in which I currently work in the army laboratory.

You must be a very busy woman working in the ED and still managing to produce such amazing products with your sewing in your spare time. The quilts that we had on the ward beds over in Iraq really brightened up the hospital. It was very comforting to have a little piece of home within our deployed hospital. We all truly appreciate all the hard work and support that that you gave us, and continue to provide to members deployed overseas. It really makes a difference.

I’ll look forward to using my flash new laundry bag during my next getaway, whether it be an Army field exercise, deployment or perhaps my Christmas holiday break when I travel home to SA to visit my family. But in the meantime I’ll hang it in my lab office and admire your crafty work.

Thank you again for your support.

Good Morning Jean,

I recently received a laundry bag made by yourself and just wanted to thank you for the laundry bag and just for offering your time for people like myself who are away from home. Thank you very much for the letter too as its really nice to hear about you and your family too. I have currently put the laundry bag up on my wall as I don’t want it to get ruined in the wash here as its fairly harsh on my clothes so I dread to think what it would do to my new pride and joy lol. Its good to hear from another Brit too, there seem to be loads of us living in Australia, there are quite a few of us ex british army in the ADF too which is always good when I need a catch up. Its interesting to hear your dad was in India, one of my old units was in India quite a bit. The Dukes, I don’t know if your dad served with them at the time as I know there were quite a few troops there over the years. 

I haven’t managed to get around Australia much but I do like the east coast and think me and my family will end up settling there in the end. Maybe just north of Brisbane as we do love the warm weather. I am currently based in Darwin and we love it up there, just not to live forever.

Thanks very much again for what you are doing for us and I will use it for laundry eventually when I’m somewhere trust the washing machines.


I am writing from the mighty warship HMAS Newcastleto inform you that I have received my Aussie Hero Quilt up here on my deployment and wanted to take the time to thank you and all those involved. 

In the age of email and internet (the later being a fairly rare commodity for us at sea) receiving any form of physical mail from ‘home’ is an indescribable feeling. 

We do at times feel cut off from our loved-ones at home and from Australia in general. To see a parcel with my name on it really made my day – and that was before I even knew what it was. 

Morale can slip so quickly depending on what we are required to do. Anything received from home picks up morale instantly. 

The quilt itself is beautifully made. It’s obvious that a lot of care and attention was put into it. I already have plans to put it on display when I get home at the end of the year. 

As it is Newcastle-themed it will be a perfect way to remember and cherish my time onboard. That is unless one of my daughters does not claim it for herself. 

So thank you. It really does mean a lot that someone back in Australia is thinking about us. It’s not easy here so this really helps. 

Please also pass on my thanks to all those involved in creating this quilt and having it sent to me. 

You are all doing great work. 

Thanks again


G’day Ruth

I have had the pleasure of receiving your laundry bag here in the Middle East.  Not to mention a couple of extra treats too.  I can’t say thank you enough, Or really explain how wrapped I am with the laundry bag.  I won’t be leaving it out either, Most of my crew here expressed an interest in it.

I took the laundry bag for a flight though the first day I got it just to get a couple of pics with it.  They are attached with a photo of my tent here.  Im really proud to be here, But Im looking forward to getting home to my family, I have two young boys 1 and 2 , And a very busy partner who is eager to have some help around the house again.

I am really grateful for what you do, And anyone who receives any of your work is lucky.  I didn’t know until I deployed that my Mum, Also a grandmother of 4, also makes quilts for defence members.  Ill make sure she see’s your handy work when I get home too.  She is located in QLD.  

Thanks so much again, Its the little surprises like this that help the time away pass.

Pennie received this photo of one of her happy recipients.


Good evening Jan-Maree, 

I am writing to let you know that my Aussie Hero laundry bag arrived from Jenny P in Cherrybrook. 

I must say it is an incredible piece of work and I love it dearly !  Jenny managed to capture (brilliantly) the love of hang gliding I have always had since I was a young lad (I’m now 53 !!). 
I flew these gliders for over 20 years and was passionate about it (and also a bit crazy!).  This was captured beautifully in the ‘FLTLT JT’ featured in the hang glider she created.    I hope to eventually move to the coast and get back into my flying again. 
I would like to pass on my appreciation  to Jenny for putting a massive smile on my face (and those around me who saw her wonderful efforts and creativity).  I was also very chuffed to receive a bundle of other treats in the box such as Tim Tams, Chewies, Jubes and Shapes !  How good was that !! 
It is times like these that we (over here) really do appreciate the things in life that we so often take for granted at home.   
Do not underestimate how much these Aussie Hero Quilts, Laundry Bags and other assorted treats are appreciated by the people over here on deployment. 
Thanks again Jan-Maree and if you are in touch with Jenny, could you please pass on my gratitude to her for this wonderful gift she made me.  I do hope to get the chance one day to thank her in person for her kindness. 


Hello Bec, 

First of all, let me say your quilt is by far, not only one of the best gifts I’ve been given, it is also one of the best things I’ve ever seen and feel very privileged and appreciated that you and your family took the time to plan and make a quilt that clearly has a lot of thought, care and love put into the work. 
I was a bit rushed to make a decision on what I might want as a quilt so instead of choosing my favourite band and my favourite singer, I combined them both and figured I could trust whoever made my quilt to include one or the other, or both and what you created is beyond my wildest imagination and is honestly wonderful. 
This email has been a long time coming as I received your quilt about a month ago (not sure when you sent it but mail does take a while to reach us) I have been rather busy on the ship but at the moment we are on our way home to WA and I am now the night watchman with plenty of time on my hands for the next few days. 
I am a communications sailor onboard and I can’t wait to show everyone at home my new quilt, I have a wife and a three year old son who I know will both adore the quilt you have made. I have held off on sending photos home of the quilt as I want to show them the real deal in the flesh. 
I love the effort you and your family went through and the thought you have obviously put into the quilt, I love tour patches of my favourite band which you provided and I love the fact that you were able to include so many iconic images of Bowie on it as well, I especially love the Aussie flag and the “we can be heroes” quote at the top. I could go on about everything that I love about the quilt but it would make for a very long email, so I will just say Thank You once again, getting your package in the mail was a great morale booster and to find that your family pitched in to make this Sailor’s day is such a wonderful feeling and I am touched by your efforts. 
Thank You for your package containing supplies as well, I put all the food to good use (i.e – I ate it all – I may have shared some) and I am still using the puzzle books you provided too on those long night shifts. 
I can’t Thank You enough from the bottom of my heart and I hope making my quilt is as special to you as it is to me, my appreciation for your gift is beyond words. 
Take care of yourself and your family and pass on your thanks to them for me. Please feel free to respond to this email if you wish. 


Good morning April,

Thank you so much for the quilt and laundry bag! I absolutely adore them! You captured my love for dolphins and Killer Whales perfectly. Although you say in your letter that art is not your forte, you really do have a talent for design and sewing. I do enjoy losing my thoughts while colouring in so thank you for the paper also!

I also love the water and grew up on the beach in a small town  approx 85km south of Sydney.

Growing up I had my heart set on being a Marine Biologist however I later found out I wasn’t very good at Science. So at 24 I joined the Navy. I have served six years as a Communications Sailor and transferred early last year to a Personnel Operations Sailor. I look after all Personnel related issues, pay and administration…everything that makes use of my administrative skills.

Take care and thank you again! Please see attached photo of how happy I am hahaha.

Kind regards,


Yesterday a couple of packages arrived for me – always good for morale to get something from home but these were truly special. Jan-Maree Ball and her wonderful team from Aussie Hero Quilts sent me an amazing quilt featuring the aircraft I have flown over my service career. Additionally I received an amazing laundry bag replete with Aussie flag and the club logo for my Mighty Melbourne Demons! 

I have now been deployed for a bit over three months and it is easy to start to believe that apart from family and friends, no one in Australia even knows we still have troops in Afghanistan. 

Gifts like these demonstrate that there are still plenty of people who appreciate our sacrifice and this is a pretty important thing to hold on to when you are so far from home. 

The fact this wonderful organization is headed by an old Air Force ATC friend and colleague is just the icing on the cake!  Thanks again to Jan and her wonderful crew of volunteers. PS, please feel free to share and spread the word about this amazing organization!

(NOTE – this lovely fellow and I served together at RAAF Richmond…. 
oh soo many years ago. ) 


Hello Jan-Maree,

I received my laundry bag during our stay in XXXXX and I am very very happy with it. It reminded me of some of the things my mother makes back home and helps me turn my small space into a little bit more like home ( thank you also for the sneaky Oreos that were in the bag also I shared them around and they were well received well by the boys in the mess). A bit of information about myself, I am an Able Seaman Supply Chain Sailor it is my job on board ( as well as a few others that I work with ) to supply equipment and account for all of our spare parts and clothing for the others on the ship. We have a warehouse onboard which we use to store all of this but right now we spend as little time down there as we can since it isn’t ventilated and gets very hot and humid in there.

I also am a member of the ships boarding team which gets very sweaty so don’t worry the laundry bag will come in handy with the large amount of washing I will be doing for the next few months.

Please pass on my sincere thanks to the maker of the bag (Jean) and thank you Jan for providing an extremely valuable service to Defence, the looks on everybody’s face when they open your packages is always a treat in itself.

Kind Regards


Hi Jan-Maree,

I received my quilt and just wanted to say thank you so much. 

It looks great and is something which I will keep forever. Also, I wanted to thank you and everyone else involved for all the hard work and effort you have put into these quilts, they all look amazing.

Thanks so much again.



Hi Jacqui,

I am writing to you to say thank you so much for the Quilt that you made for me,  it looks amazing and its my favourite soccer team (Chelsea F.C.)  You did a great job and its something which I will keep forever now.

I really appreciate the time and effort you put into making this for me.

Thank you so much again.


Good evening Lisa!!!!

I’m the bloke that came up with the crazy concept of Perenti Lizard’s, Pirates and Smugglers, so here goes…..

So I write this to you on the second to last night of our deployment, somewhere well off the Western Australian coastline, and heading South South East at about 18 knots, as I listen to the bang of the .50 calibre machine guns (bang bang bang) and the 5 inch Gun (BOOM!!!) firing, as our Ops guys and Bosun’s Mate’s get in some final practice. To give you an idea of how loud the 5 inch gun really is, my office is 4 decks down (the lowest deck in fact), and you still physically feel the shockwave to a degree, and the shudder of the ship, and hear what I would call a rather deep bass “THUD”.

I received the Laundry Bag a couple of week’s ago, and it has well and truly exceeded my expectations! (These are after all, a gift, there really should be no expectations). 

The trigger for this email was the arrival of the quilt at my house today. My wife was nice enough to take a photo and email it to me and I am SERIOUSLY impressed by how it turned out. Again this is probably too good to use, but given how bloody cold it is back down here on the other side of the equator, I might have to give in and just use it. There will be a plethora of cold duty watches to hold, once I get back from a week or two of leave, so yeh, I reckon I will have to use it.

Once again, I’m very honoured to have received the laundry bag and quilt, they are absolutely outstanding!!! my wife is very much a fan as well, perhaps she will be inspired to join your ranks?

Take care, and many thanks once again!!!!

One of my recipients, who designed his own quilt, has already sent me a thank you which has been shared, but managed to get a photo as well.  Love that happy smiling face! 


Hello Jean, 

I am the very lucky recipient of the laundry bag you made, and I am just writing to say thankyou so much ! I love it ! 

It really is a boost to morale to receive these quilts and bags, and to know beautiful people like yourself have taken the time to do it for us. 
We still have a fair time to go on this deployment, and some days seem longer than others, but we are all getting on with the job. We are lucky to have an amazing Ship’s Company, and a great command team, so all is going well so far. 
I am the Ship’s Warrant Officer, so as the single senior ranking sailor it is one of my jobs to monitor and address morale, and address any issues to command. It is a great job, as part of requires me to wander around and just talk to people. We really do have some great young people in the Navy – and they do tend to re-energise me when I feel down, or just need to see a smiling face. 
Unlike Coffs, we tend to have extremes in climate in Canberra – and as I spend all this time in the Middle East working in 52 degrees plus each day, in seem inconceivable that at home they are freezing through minus 3 and 4 each morning ! I can guarantee you I will not look back at any stage and wish I was back in the 50 degrees … ! 
Thankyou again for the laundry bag – it is amazing and the workmanship is just beautiful. I am an avid Crows supporter (something you NSW people probably do not care too much for ? :-). and as we sit at the top of the ladder I have hung my bag in a very prominent place in my cabin, which is spotted by all who walk past ! I have a feeling it will become a family heirloom – and be handed down tomy son with pride when I get home ! 
Go Crows !! 
Thankyou again …. very much appreciated 


Dear Maree,

Thank you so incredibly much for the lovely quilt and laundry bag. Both are amazing and will certainly serve as a great piece of memorabilia from my time in the Middle East Region.
Luckily the people that I’m with are some of the best in my trade and have provided some amazing support to our soldiers, sailors and airman deployed throughout the theatre. As I write this many of my members are coming close to the end of their tours and the inevitable talk of what they want to do first, eat first, see first has all begun to emerge. Many of them have received quilts and laundry bags from amazing people like you and on behalf of my team I really do thank everyone from back home who provides these generous gifts.


Hello Gail,
Firstly, you have done such a beautiful job on the laundry bag I have just received! I absolutely love it and it will accompany me on every future ship/deployment I serve.
I am an Able Seaman Boatswains mate in the Navy. I joined in August 2009 from my home city at the age of 18. Following my training in Melbourne I moved to Sydney where I commenced my career serving on several different ships. I have been deployed 3 times to the Middle East since 2010 and I love it. I really feel like us Aussie’s make a difference up here disrupting the drug and piracy that goes on throughout the neighbouring countries.
Your past and present support means so much to us deployed defence personnel. Knowing that our efforts are appreciated makes each day a lot more meaningful, even if we’re not doing a boarding or chasing bad guys!
I have actually been to Papa New Guinea and seen some of the remnants of WW2 on the beaches. I found it very humbling knowing that Australians were the ones there fighting to protect Australia all those years ago. I have great respect and appreciation for your Father and men alike.
Again, I couldn’t thank you more for your support and I really love the Laundry Bag and treats.
Kind Regards,

Hi Jan.
Just dropping you a quick line to let you know my quilt (made by Julz) arrived.
I was so excited when I got my box and elated when I saw the beautiful work inside.
The choccy went down well too.
Thanks for supporting us out here. Your work and those of your wonderful volunteers touches all of us out here and moves some of us beyond words.
You have well and truly made my day.
Good afternoon Jan-Maree and Janet,

I’m super stoked about my Hero Quilt and laundry bag. As always, it’s more amazing that I could have ever imagined, it just leaves me speechless and I cannot express my thanks enough.  Thank you so much for your time and support.
These quilts do more than just keep spirits up while on deployment. It means a lot to receive a gift from back home that shows us that our sacrifice by being away from friends and family is noticed and appreciated.  Biscuits and chocolates on the side definitely help too.  (I shared them with my work section to spread the morale boost further.)  (JM next project; “Aussy hero biscuits and chocolates”?)
The ship’s photographer will make a group photo once more quilts have been received and I will ensure that I am there to display your fine work.
Thank you once again

(I don’t have contact with Gail Matthews so if anyone knows her can you please make sure she sees this?)
Dear Jan-Maree Ball and Gail Matthews,
I am a Lieutenant in the Australian Army who is currently on Rifle Company Butterworth Rotation 118 in Penang, Malaysia. I have just received a beautiful laundry bag from your company, made by Gail Matthews. It is a beautiful design and has really made my day!
I normally work in Darwin as an Artillery Officer; however I am performing the role of Infantry Platoon Commander whilst deployed here in Malaysia. We have conducted lots of jungle training so far and we will soon move on to Singapore to conduct further training and exercises, as well as some representational duties in Sandakan.
When I return home it will be just in time to see my beautiful partner Taylor give birth to our first child, which I am very excited about. I miss her, my family and friends very much. It’s nice to know there are others thinking about overseas Defence personnel also.
I greatly appreciate what Aussie Hero Quilts is doing and I cannot thank yourself and Gail enough for this excellent gift.
Yours sincerely,
Dear Joan and Robin
Thank you for the lovely gift of the laundry bag. It is great.
I want you both to know just how much your efforts are appreciated, not just by me personally but by all of the soldiers, sailors and airmen over here. (Yes, there are Navy officers in XXXX!) The support and thought from good people like yourselves are great for our spirits.
Kind regards

Dear Joan & Robin,
Thank you so much for the lovely laundry bag. The quality is perfect and I love the colouring, it will certainly be used with pride. Hopefully you have received the picture sent via email. It was only a quick email as I don’t log in to my personal emails very often. It is a wonderful gesture and very much appreciated by all of us here that receive either a bag or quilt.
Regards and thank you again
Dear Joan & Robin
Many thanks for the laundry bag you sent to me. As your correctly wrote, the bag will eventually be given to my young daughter when I return home in a few months. You provide an excellent service and the bag is pure quality.
Thank you very much for all your efforts.
Kind regard

Good morning Joann and Robin,

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So my laundry bag was of dogs with the intials SR up the top. I really do want to say thank you the effort that is put into the quilts and laundry bags is just amazing. I wish I could truly express to the both of you the appreciation I have. What an amazing organisation that you are involved in. I particularly love how you guys work together to make the laundry bags, it sounds like a nice little team hobby you have.
I would just like to say that the work this organisation does is amazing and I wish all involved could see each and everyone who receives these items reactions when they receive them, with the few that have already arrived its really nice to see my fellow colleagues faces light up, it really is. So please continue the amazing job you two are doing and know you have just made another Defence personnel very happy.

Hi Inge,
I love my quilt and laundry bag, I think you have done a wonderful job and I greatly appreciate the time and effort you have put in for me.
I am currently deployed overseas with the Navy.
I am 37, I have a beautiful wife with two fantastic children, my daughter 7 and son 3. My wife and I have been married for 8 wonderful years. She is a RN but has recently completed her Cert4 in PT.
I have been in the RAN for 17 years, I did 15 straight then discharged and tried the civilian world for 5 years and then come back to the Navy. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science as I would like a career in fitness also.
I have spent 9 years on this class of vessel, during my time in the Navy, upon completion of this deployment I will have spent 2 years away on operations and over 6 years away from my home port in total.
Your right, it is hard to be away from friends and family but the little things and big things like receiving a quilt and laundry bag from a complete stranger say thank you makes it that little bit easier.
Again I really appreciate you send me the quilt and laundry back, it will definitely be something I will keep and pass to the generations to come.
Thank your husband for his service on my behalf.
Take care.
Kind Regards,

What a load of great messages..
Till next time….. Keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree xx

Follow Us…

You May Also Like…


  1. robyn

    Great messages, good job everyone


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *