Grati-Tuesday 28 May 19

Written by AHQ

28 May 2019

Hey All,

A bumper crop of messages today… grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy the read. 

Hello Su.

I just got your package with my quilt in it….it is AMAZING…..I absolutely love it… Thank you so much. You have brightened up my day and my small room haha I absolutely love the have done an amazing job. Yeah I have had horses too but unfortunately I have had to give mine away as we have had drought and I just simply don’t have time much anymore.. I miss riding and just being around them..

Thank you again it is such a great thing you all do. I have seen my mates all get there quilts and just the smiles you put on everyone’s faces over here is amazing, it is a big morale boost. So thank you from all of us deployed


Hi Sue.G

Sorry for the late reply.

Thank you very much for making me the quilt and laundry bag, I really appreciate it. My wife loves French bulldogs so the quilt and laundry bag reminds me of home.

I have been in the Navy for almost 16 years and have been deployed to the Middle East four times since 2010. I am a maintenance manager that looks after the MH-60R Seahawk Helicopter on board HMAS Ballarat. I specialise in all electrical and avionics systems plus the aircraft’s ordnance. As a maintenance manager I manage the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance around the flying program and ensure the aircraft is prepared and ready to meet operational requirements. 

Although it is hard being away from my wife, family and friends I really enjoy my time at sea. I have been fortunate enough to work all around Australia and the world, throughout my Navy career I have visited 30 countries.

Once again I really appreciate the time you spent making me the quilt and laundry bag and I especially appreciate your kind thoughts.

Hi Ruth

I am writing to thank you for the laundry bag you so kindly created and sent to me. I really do appreciate your efforts, it really did bring a smile to my face.

I am from Adelaide originally and know how the supporters down there feel about the footy, one of the things I miss from Adelaide, however I have been a Cats supporter since I was very young so I’m sticking with them.

Good luck with the Power and I hope you continue your valuable work for us over here in the Middle East, very nice to have your support.

Kindest Regards


Dear Ashleigh,

I returned from leave in Australia the other day and my UN Flag quilt was here waiting for me. It is beautiful! Thank you so much. Thanks for the Minties too! The quilt came in very handy because my flatmate in the temporary accommodation that I’m staying in has the air-conditioning cranked up and I would have frozen without it. 

I am currently deployed to Juba, South Sudan on the United Nations Peace Keeping mission here. This is my second deployment with the Australian Army. The first was to Iraq in 2007 when I was a soldier. 

Thanks again, I really appreciate it. It’s nice to know that people like you are thinking about us.

Yours sincerely,

Good afternoon Sandy,

I can’t thank you and the Aussie Heroes Sewing Team in Coffs Harbour enough for the impressive quilt you made. I knew it would be a ‘little different’ the design I submitted but it’s a fantastic mixture of Australian colours and animals plus the flags of the countries that I am serving with over here in Afghanistan. So thank you very very much again!!!

I just returned from my leave in Ireland and we’ve had a weather shift from winter to summer here so I’m using it on my bed!

What a fantastic community you have created meeting up at the studio. You’ll have to tell me more about the food you have there!!!

Please wish Jan-Maree, Jeanette, Lynne and Kay my very best. I will be passing through Coffs Harbour on my way to a course in Canberra in August so it would be great to meet you guys and have a cuppa J

Kind regards,

Good evening Bridget,

First and foremost I want to send my many thanks, and also to declare my admiration for the absolutely tremendous job you have done on the unique blanket. It is a remarkably fulfilling feeling to receive something that has received so much care and attention, I will take this home and following many months now in the Middle Eastern heat, look forward to sitting under it on my couch when I get home in a couple months.

I have been deployed with my ship since last October, and we still have a little way to go. The ship has been working hard, contributing to the combined effort to combat terrorism and illegal drug trade, we have recently just passed milestones of 10 drug seizures and disposing of an equivalent value of 1 billion Australian dollars, the ship is pretty proud of what its achieved. Along the way we have also conducted a number of multinational engagements with a number of countries including USA, UK, Canada, France, Kuwait, Iraq, India, Pakistan and Seychelles just to name a few. My role on board specifically is to conduct the short/mid/long term planning, it’s a role I have been doing for a while now and I am getting to the point where I am looking forward to the next posting- which will also send me back to the east coast where I spent the first 7 years of my career before joining Ballarat for the last 3.

It sounds like your young family are finding their feet and doing well. Your daughters story sounds like mine, I finished my VCE, went to uni, deferred, took another 12 months off and then ended up in the Navy hah so let her know opportunities are always there. 

It’s a great thing you are doing with Jan-Maree and Aussie Hero Quilts (I was lucky enough to meet her with me CO and CWO last year before our deployment). I can assure you all of your hard work is greatly appreciated by all of us, its one of the nicest gifts I have ever received. Please find attached a picture of me with my blanket, there is little I can do to show my gratitude but to say thankyou. Please feel free to email me back I will make the time to reply whenever. I would have written you a letter but I’m concerned our mail is not working as quickly as would be appropriate to get my thanks to you ASAP.

Kindest regards,

PHOTO Bridget4

Dear Gail,
I write to say a huge thank you from this and all Australian soldiers. People like you make my job and the sacrifice easy. So from the bottom of my heart and all those you have shown your support to, thank you.
Receiving the laundry bag made by you was very humbling.The design is awesome – a mix of medieval and chic. I have shown my nephew the design (he is also a Dragons fan) and he loves it so he may get some use out of it too.
It sounds like you have an amazing and talented family. I hope someday I have a family of children and grandchildren that I can speak of the way you do. I hope you were able to spend some time with them over the Easter long weekend.
I am much looking forward to being at home with my friends and getting back to normality.
Keep doing what you’re doing, Gail. It’s appreciated.

Ciao for now,

Hi Jan-Maree,
I hope this letter finds you well, that your surgery was a success and you are recuperating as planned!
I have known about Aussie Hero Quilts for some time now and am amazed at the generosity of the time that volunteers give to make and send quilts and laundry bags to deployed personnel.

I am currently deployed on Operation ASLAN. Operation ASLAN is the name for the deployment of Australian Defence Force personnel to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The ADF has contributed personnel to UNMISS since 23 September 2011 and the ADF’s commitment assists the UN to protect the people of the Republic of South Sudan through the monitoring of human rights and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

ADF personnel are not deployed in combat roles; instead they fill important UNMISS headquarters positions such as military liaison officers, operations, aviation and logistics support roles. The ADF contingent comprises of up to 25 personnel from the Air Force, Navy and Army who deploy to Operation ASLAN for between six and nine months.

My United Nations role is as the Personal Assistant to the Force Chief of Staff, currently a Brigadier from New Zealand, soon to be replaced by a Brigadier from Norway. I have an Australian Contingent role too and that is the Postal Clerk – a role I love as I am the keeper of the morale that keeps on giving every time a mail bag is delivered.

I joined the services in 1999 as a Reservist before transferring full time in November 2003. I am married (also a serving member) and we have three sons, 14, 11 and 6 years. My 6.5 months away from home for this deployment will be the longest time that I will have spent away from home and as much as I am missing them the wonders of technology and video calling makes them feel not so far away.

We have posted to NSW, QLD, WA and overseas (I was posted to Malaysia for 2014/15), and as SA is home for me it was great to get back there in 2016 after being gone 13 years.

The quilt was here waiting for me on my return from my leave.  
It was quite humbling to receive such a beautiful quilt, I absolutely love it; you and your volunteers are the true heroes! Please pass on my thanks to Denise, Bridget and Bev as the quilt far surpassed any expectations that I had on how it would look, and I know that it will be loved by my boys just as much when I take it home with me at the end of my Mission.
With gratitude,

G’day Aussie Heroes Sewing Team in Coffs Harbour,
This letter is to thank you all for my stunning quilt. I genuinely can’t express how special it feels to receive one of these whilst away from family and friends on deployment. I am currently serving as part of Air task Group operations. I am loving my deployment and the people I have met here. As my deployment comes to a close, I have been writing thank you letters to all those who have been supporting at home.
I feel so privileged to be able to serve Australia and its interests, however it’s the support from Australia that really has me pinching myself.
Thank you to Sandy for designing the quilt around the panel created by Joan and Jean. Thank you Kay for the machine embroideries and Jeanette for assembling the quilt top. Thanks for the quilting by Beth and last but certainly not least to Jenny for the binding.
When you are so far away from Australia, it truly is so nice to come back to your bed with a little piece of love and home.
You really don’t understand the gratitude we all have towards Aussie Quilts. When someone receives their parcel, there is a bloody big group of people standing around to catch a glimpse of what comes out.
Funnily enough, everyone likes their own the most. Over here the small things really are the big things.
Thank you all so much.


Dearest Cathie 

I’m 23 years old, I work as the postie here in the UAE, this is my second deployment. I can safely say it doesn’t get better ahha. But it’s ok I love my job.

I wanted to write back in a letter but I couldn’t hold back on how much I wanted to say I cannot thank you enough for my quilt I love love love it!! It came today in the mail and I almost cried it’s so good.

Thank you so much! I cannot day how grateful all of us over here are for the time and effort you all give to us. You will never truly understand how much women and men like yourself make our trips so much better by the receiving of a gift. 

I have 2 Pomeranians and a sweet loving man at who I miss so much at home. I do miss miss watching the surfers though aha 🙂

Thankyou again so much.


Afternoon/Evening Ma’am
I’ve just received My laundry Bag on board HMAS Childers. I’m sending you this email to thank you for such a lovely gift. When the laundry bags were handed out they told the crew to pick the one that relates the most to you, and as they were being shared around I manage to get passed the design that means the most to me.  I’m a young Aboriginal/Torres strait Islander and I was overwhelmed by the design.

Thanks once again for your work of art.

 Kind regards,

Hi Pennie,

I’m writing to thank you for the quilt you’ve made me and the personal letter. The quilt is amazing, so good in fact that I fear I’ll have to battle my 4 and 2 year old sons for ownership. They claimed my Aussie Hero Quilts Washbag earlier in the deployment haha. 

Just to jog your memory, it is the North Queensland Cowboys Rugby League Quilt you made. In your letter you speak about your Father in-law being a Petty Officer as well, your eldest son having already served in the Navy and your youngest son currently serving in the RAAF. You should feel proud of the contribution you and your family have made. 

Three of my Great Grandfathers were in the Army, My Grandfather was a WO2, my Uncle was a Sargent, my Wife’s father was a Corporal, her Grandfather a Leading Seaman and her Uncle in the SAS. Military is very strong in my family and already my 4 year old talks about wanting to be a captain on a battleship when he grows older, though my wife is dreaming of him being a pilot as all mums usually do haha.

I can’t thank you enough for the quilt, it really is very well received.

All the best to you and your family.

Dear Heather

In response to your opening sentence of your Letter and Care Pack, I absolutely love my Laundry Bag.

As the privileged recipient of your generosity, time, resources and extreme talent thank you for the laundry bag and care pack. It’s always special to receive items that remind me of home and knowing that members of the public are proudly supporting their deployed personnel.

I’m not sure if you have received the full email trail however, by way of introduction, I am a member of the Australian Regular Army with over 36 years of continuous service. I am currently deployed on Operation Highroad in Afghanistan as part of Australia’s contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

My role is as a mentor to the staff and instructors at the Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA), which is producing committed and well-motivated junior officers to lead the next generation of the Afghanistan National Army.

In response to your letter, I don’t see myself as a hero, I see myself as a privileged individual who has an opportunity to make a small contribution that could have a lasting effect. I note you have been sewing for a number of years, do you keep track of how many laundry bags and quilts you have made?

There is a large quantity of service personnel currently serving who’s families from various generations who have served in past conflicts. You must be very proud of your uncles. My father served in the RAAF for 20 years however, during the post-Vietnam era he did not deploy on active service.

Where would be without our pets? It’s amazing how high on the priority list that I miss our family pet, Wilbur, a golden lab. There are a few working dogs here (search and protection). The handlers are supportive of our K9 withdrawals and permit us to pat the dogs when they are exercising however, you won’t get within 20 feet of the protection dog, he/she is a monster.  

In closing it is with my sincere heartfelt gratitude that I write to you and thank you for the outstanding service and personal support you give to us, deployed soldiers. Your Laundry Bag will be with me for future postings and courses and will be a lasting memory of my tour.  The care package will be shared amongst the multi-national soldiers within our accommodation block and the Tim Tams will be shared with my Afghan mentees once Ramadan is over in early June.  

My sincere regards and thanks

Hello Hilary,
Thank you so much for the laundry bag, it is much appreciated + will be constantly used here + when I return to Australia +post to sea.
I’m glad you like Australia so much + are happy living there. My mother moved to Australia from the US 30 years ago + she loves it there too.
The internet + phones have made this deployment go past so quickly without loosing contact with my family + friends. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for you + your husband 25 years ago.
Thank you again + I hope you have a happy Easter     


Hello Hilary,
Thank you so for the laundry bag. The colours are lovely and I will be able to use it when I come back home as well. My family love going camping and it will come in handy for those situations as well.
My daughter’s school is very aware of my deployment and they have been very supportive of her and her support network. I am lucky to have my mother as part of her support chain. She is the one that takes my duaghter to school and back. 

My son is 19 ys old and he joined the RAAF last year. He is now completing his employment course down in Melbourne at Simpson Barracks. He is due to finish in August and is hoping to be posted to Amberly where I am normally posted.

I speak with all the family most days, yes skype is wonderful for this, so I get to keep up with all the activities and events back home.

I am looking forward to getting home however I have enjoyed my deployment. We have been quite a busy section as I am a medical assistant and am a SNCO MEDIC .Thank you again for the laundry bag it was nice to know a bit about your family.


Hello Jenny P,

I received the wonderful laundry bag that you have made for us. Thank you very much for all the time and effort you put into these. It certainly does make a difference to us when we receive a parcel filled with little goodies and the beautiful laundry bags you make. Some people may see it as something little but I can assure you we all see it as something more than that.

In 1989 I joined the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 16 as an apprentice on the Fleet Air Arm. 5 Years later I married and 2 years after that my wife and I had twin girls. Yes, we were married at 21 which was quite young but we’ve been married for 25 years now and at the age of 46 we are now able to travel a little as our girls are both successful young adults.

I spent a total of 8.5 years in the Navy before I discharged but remained in the defence as an active reservist each year, however I have since changed from the Navy to RAAF. Upon my discharge from the permanent RAN in 1997, I joined the NSW Police Force and am currently a Sergeant, which I have been for the last 5 years. It’s been a bit of a juggling act being a full time police officer and continuing my commitment to the RAAF each year but with such a wonderful wife, I’ve been able to commit to both.

I hope that one day I will be able to relax from the Defence and Police Force and enjoy some wonderful grandchildren like yourself. Until that time, I will continue doing what I do.

Thank you again for the laundry bag and goodies. What you do is well received and just as important as those of us serving in the Defence both here and in the Middle East Region and throughout the world.


Hello Joy,

I was pleasantly surprised to see a parcel waiting for me in my mess today so thank you. It looks great and I love the pattern. I enjoyed reading your letter about your grandchildren and the great pile of fabric that I assume must take over many rooms of your house. This has been a very long deployment made even longer with my wife giving birth to our first child, a girl, 5 months into the trip. This quilt will make a good addition to her room and maybe when she’s older she can use it to build a fort as well.

Thank you very much for the Quilt you made.

Dear Rita, Lou, Sherry + Ryan, Jill, Will, Lizzy + Benny, Rachel + Lawton (+Ludo),

I hope this letter finds you and your family well.

I am writing to send you sincere thanks for the wonderful care package you sent me.

I was so excited and proud to show off my wonder woman laundry bag! I was on my way to lunch when I was surprisingly handed your package so I stayed back, and delayed everyone getting to lunch, just so I could open it as I couldn’t wait.

The laundry bag is so well made and more than I could have hoped for that it’s too good for me to use for now. So I have hung it on the wall above my bed for decoration – and this way I can look at it all the time and others see it. I’ve also sent photos of it to my friends at home and deployed to other countries. They all love that it’s wonder woman.

WOW! You have contributed a lot of time and efforts towards making laundry bags and quilts for others. I genuinely thank you for this, it means a lot to everyone who receives a personalised one and everyone uses them – it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do.

When people thank us for our service we are not sure how to respond as we are simply doing our job we volunteered for. However, it is our utmost pleasure.

All the best, warmest regards,

Dear Sue A-W

Thank you so much for the beautiful quilt and laundry bag. They were much appreciated. I am currently in South Sudan which is quite different to Point Cook in Melbourne. I am married with three children (1 – 14 year old boy and twin girls aged 11).

I am working with the UN and there are people from 70 different nations.
I have visited places I would have thought I would never see like the Nile River and Lake Victoria.

Thank you once again.

All the best for the future, your family and retirement.


Dear Bridget,

An e-mail to thank you so much for the outstanding quilt which I received today 

I was so impressed with the attention to detail that I video called the family to show them, my 10 year old daughter immediately laid claim to said quilt when we return from deployment so it looks like I’ve lost that one! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy whilst it’s still in my possession!

As you may know, HMAS Ballarat is conducting a 9 month deployment to the Middle East Region and with 50 days left to go we’re definitely seeing the shining stars of Australia on the horizon.

Thank you again for taking the time and (amazing) expertise to produce a wonderful gift. It’ll be treasured for a long time to come!

Warmest regards

Hi Rita,
Thank you so so much for my wonder woman laundry bag, absolutely LOVE it!
And feeling very spoilt having received the other present in your care package – will keep me smiling for a good while. I am jealous of your sewing skills – not quite my forte haha.
I very much appreciate the effort you have put in, not only sewing, but also the thought, care and time it would have taken to get everything together. Myself and the other members you have sent packages to are super lucky. It’s nice to think there is lovely people like you out there.
I love hearing people’s stories so thank you for sharing yours with me. Your package arrived around ANZAC Day so I thought it appropriate to share some ANZAC Spirit from the Middle East with you. 

All the best to you and your loved ones. Thank you for all that you do for members of our Defence Forces.

Dear Debra

“I want you to know how much receiving a quilt or laundry bag means to all the troops. We all get very excited when someone receives their quilt and it honestly gives us a little high for the day knowing Australian citizens are thinking about us while we are away from family; so thank you.”


Good Afternoon Pennie

I recently received the quilt you made for me and I’m over the moon to say the least, it looks fantastic.  The detail in the quilt is amazing and it is certainly something I will cherish for many years to come.  I really appreciate all the hard work you put into it.  It really does make being over here easier and especially on the weekends when the bulldogs are playing I can wrap it around myself for good luck.

Thanks again for sending it and I’ll make sure I take the up cost care with it.

Good Afternoon Jan-Maree

I would first like to apologise for my late response to receiving the laundry bag.

I appreciate the time and hard effort that has gone into the making of these laundry bags. I would also like to pass on my gratitude to yourself and all the volunteers in the Aussie Hero Quilts organisation. My bag did not come with a letter or a name to be able to personally thank, but seeing the smiles of the crew when they were handed out was incredible.

I have only been serving in the Royal Australian Navy for the past two years, HMAS Childers is my first boat I have been posted to in my career. Being away from home, away from family and loved ones really does take a toll, as you would have personally experienced in your defence career, receiving the handmade laundry gave me the feeling of being appreciated myself and makes me so grateful to be able to serve the people of Australia as a defence member.

I love my bag, it’s going to be used very well and is going to be a good reminder of why I am here and why I am serving.

Please pass my gratitude onto your volunteers for their hard work.

Good Morning/Afternoon Samantha,

Thank you so much for my awesome quilt and laundry bag.  If they were your first ones completed for AHQ then you should be extremely proud. I think you’ve done an awesome job and created exactly what I wished for.  And many deserved thanks goes to Jan-Maree Ball for establishing and maintaining this much appreciated service in spite of personal hardships endured in the past.

This is my third deployment to the Middle East in my 9 year career and each time I have received a quilt and laundry bag from amazing, generous women like yourself.  I’ll be proud to hang yours up next to the others in my mancave when I get home in about a month.  

Thank you also for the extra goodies you added to those packages. I can tell you put a lot of thought into what to add and everything you included will be put to good use and is much appreciated.  Additionally, I really appreciate you taking the time to write your letter, even those things can remind us of family and friends we’ve left behind in Australia.

Fantastic to hear that you were once an Air Force Cadet and that you’ve continued that involvement by now being an instructor in the organisation. As you would know, the Air Force is the best out of the 3 services. 😉

As previously mentioned, at this writing, I only have about a month before I return home and reunite with my wife and two fluffy cats, Tazzy and Cookie.

Some of the people I get to work with on a daily basis are from many different countries around the world including the United States, New Zealand, Sweden, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Canada, Great Britain, Finland, Denmark and others.  We’re all just trying to make our respective countries a safer place to live.

In the meantime, thank-you once again for your extraordinary craftwork and be assured it will forever remind me and represent this time in my life.

Much Love to all,

What a great bunch of messages.  Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. 

Now, till next time… keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx

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