Hooked on Heroes

Written by AHQ

14 February 2018

No Happy Mail this week as we have some happy mail of a different sort….. 

You have heard about Thelma and Louise… well this story of Caroline and Nicole has a much more satisfying ending!!!!
Over to you girls!!!
There’s 51 miles to Geelong, we’ve got a full tank of gas, two bottles of water, it’s cloudy out, and we’re wearing sunglasses …

And so it was with ready supplies and Jake and Elroy’s ‘can-do’ attitude that a couple of Aussie Heroes fanatics ventured out to tour HMAS Stuart and HMAS Toowoomba. 

Caroline and I have been sewing for Aussie Heroes for about 15 months now, and we absolutely LOVE everything about it, so when Jan-Maree posted on Facebook that these two Anzac-class frigates (we’re learning the lingo) would be having an open day for civilians to come aboard and tour the ships, there was no question that we would go!  A little Sunday outing to the pier seemed like a fine idea … then we found out it wasn’t in Melbourne!  However, never ones to let practicality get in the way of a good plan, we embraced the added adventure of a slightly longer excursion to seaside Geelong, and set off on our road trip to say thank you to our Navy guys and girls.
What a day!  Around 6000 people had expressed interest in the event, and they must all have turned up, because the queue to get on board was a good 800m long, snaking from the ship, along the pier, through the car park, and around the waterfront pathway.  Luckily we’d arrived early and wore closed-toe shoes (no thongs allowed).  

Chatting to the crew as we waited (proudly wearing our AHQ badges), we soon learned that pretty much all of them knew about Aussie Heroes, and one already had a quilt from her previous deployment!  It was so great to meet a recipient!  Once aboard, the care package of magazines, lollies, bickies and crackers that we’d brought along was gratefully received by the Executive Officer, so the crews will have a few goodies to share when they deploy.
After purchasing the necessary hats and coins, we toured each of the ships, stopping to take a multitude of interesting photos of ropes, signs, ladders, doors, chains, and knobs; and looked quite mad to others, but to us they were all quilty inspiration for a future request!  We visited the officers’ mess, chatted to many of the crew and officers, and Caroline patiently waited in line with the other kids to don the fire-fighting gear and try out the water hose!  The whole event was carried out with military precision of course, but the officers and crew should be particularly commended for getting the ships in such outstanding condition and for going ahead with the event, because there had been a massive freak storm in Geelong the night before, so powerful that it had snapped 10 metre tall trees in half, scattered debris through the city, lifted roofs, smashed glass windows, battered boats and broken jetty pylons.  

All of the defence personnel were extremely professional while being incredibly welcoming, friendly and informative to the thousands of people who came to get an insight into the workings of our Navy.  The highlight of the day for us was meeting several recipients, hearing the stories behind their quilts and how much they meant to them – the fond reminders of home, helping them through tough times, a memento of a deployment or just bringing a smile to their faces.  

It was absolutely the best day ever!  The two Able Seamen in this pic were so gorgeous.  P (on the left who took the selfie) received a Joker/Harlequin quilt which he proudly told us is on his couch at home and uses it all the time, and D was the recipient of a Russell Coight quilt, that was actually signed by Glenn Robins.  He was so soover the moon with it, he couldn’t stop telling us how amazing it was, so 3 cheers to that amazing quilter who definitely went the extra mile, and it was perfect!  He said he had been going through a bit of a tough time when he received it, so it was extra good timing.

A big BZ to Lisa N for the Joker/Harlequin quilt and to Bridget for the Russell Coight quilt. We are lucky that Glenn Robins’ management is more than happy to fascilitate when we ask for a few signatures.   It is not only Aussie Heroes that supports the troops. 

Keep up the good work everyone!  What we are doing is so very much appreciated.

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