Earlier this year Townsville was struck with devastating floods.  Many people are still struggling with the after effects whilst the rest of Australia has moved on and put them out of mind. 

At the time of the floods, I like many Aussie Hero volunteers, was struck by the stories coming out of Townsville, of our serving members getting out day after day, helping out the locals where they could.  The homes of many of our troops were under flood and yet they still headed out across town to help the public before they took care of their own families and properties. 

One couple I know are the perfect example. I won’t name them because I do not want embarrass them but as the flood waters rose, the husband headed off to the base with his swag (containing his Aussie Hero Quilt from 2012) and prepared to organise the troops to help the public.  His wife, on the other hand, was at home with their dogs and cats, in a house that was more and more under threat.   As the water got closer she lifted more and more things off the floor in the hopes of protecting their most important belongings. 

When her husband was finally able to be released from work and come home he could not get through so he had to go back to the base and she “soldiered” on at home alone.  

The rain kept falling and she posted on Facebook….. 

“Thanks to everyone who has been checking in with me over the past few days, we have made it through, about a foot of water in the house but the fur babies and I are all good.  Cats spent the night on the kitchen bench, dogs and I on the bed”

and then a day or so later…

“So, update from me. I made the decision yesterday not to evacuate when it was offered. I am still unable to get out or anyone in today except via boat. At this stage I am going to spend another night. I am safe and have supplies but a little bored. I am also a little damp but that won’t kill me. I would rather the rescue boats be used to help people in more need than me. If nothing changes by tomorrow then I will call for a boat. The fur kids have been amazing, just hanging out on dry ground. Still ankle deep through the house.”

Can you imagine being ankle deep in water in your home, stranded with your cats and dogs and no power and still putting the needs of others before her own. 
And all the while her husband was supervising troops helping all over Townsville. 

These are the sort of people I was so impressed by. 

I decided that we had to do something to let our troops know that their services were appreciated.   We can’t do much but we can make laundry bags and thankfully, lots of you answered my call to arms. 

In the end, we sent over 800 laundry bags to Townsville. I did not want to overload the chaplains with mail as they were already busy.  Fiona, a friend of mine and the wife of one of our recipients, put her hand up to help out.   Now I will hand over to Fiona to tell her side of the story…. 

Wow. What a massive effort by everyone to pull together and make the Laundry Bags for Townsville service personnel. It is true what they say about Australians that the worst situations bring out the best in us. I have been truly humbled to be a small link in the chain of getting these special laundry bags to the diggers who worked tirelessly  during the floods that impacted Townsville and surrounding areas. 

The work you all do to create these beautiful bags ( and quilts) never ceases to amaze me. Such heartfelt and special creations, often sent to someone you don’t know on the other side of the world. The support given is selfless, and from experience, I know how much it means to our diggers. 

My husband was a recipient of a beautiful quilt and laundry bag a few years back whilst on deployment in the Sinai. Since then we have met our lovely JM and I have always wanted to support this great cause, and give back a little. However, sewing is not my forte. 

When JM came up with this idea, I was more than happy to put my hand up and help out. We had only been in Townsville 3 weeks when the floods hit, we really hadn’t unpacked (and still have not unpacked a lot of things) and had to contend with the devastation around us. We were fortunate to come away with no damage, however, I did see first hand the impact of the floods on a friend’s property and life. Because of this I really couldn’t think of a better cause than to help support our men and women up here.

It has been exciting everyday to come home to mounds of parcels (not sure what the postie thought) and the lovely kind words written to me. To be honest, I didn’t do much compared to you all. sewing and sending your gifts to me to count and sort. What really amazed me with the generosity, is that some of you through your own hardship and adversity are able to find peace in sewing for others, still I am in awe of you all.
So a massive thanks to you all from the troops in Townsville.

 I am sure they will all get a kick out of receiving the special gift you have sent up in recognition of the work they completed during the devastating floods up here.

As the laundry bags arrived, Fiona collected them and delivered them to the chaplains.   Some have already been handed out and thank you messages will start to filter into the Grati-Tuesday postings. 

Huge thanks to all of those who sent in the bags… I can’t share 800 photos of laundry bags but I hope I have listed the names of all those who sent bags….

Susan P
Carol L
Val M
Hilary T
Melissa L 
Di T
Claire W
Bev M 
Sylvia (Chocolyn)
Robyn W
Di, Dot, Heather 
Heather Butler
Tamsin O
Sue Gr
Rosemary H
Sue Gunn
Noelene Wntr
Debbie N
Ann W (Kraft Daze)
Ellen N
Jenny R
Jan A
Sandra B
Lynne A
Jenny L
Kathy Wh
Thelma T
Jeanette M
Shirley W
Jenny N 
Jenny J
Chris Ellis
Gay S
Joanne R
Lynn Scott
Alisson F
Carol Lewis
Jan E
Peggy K
Diann N
Alison McL
Carol L
Fran T
Anne D
Jenny Du
Lorraine M
Sue N
Robyn H
Jacqui D
Jenny W
Ann S
Jan Allen 
Nicole W
Joan H
Anne Hnr
Ange D
Marilyn S 
Pennie T 
Hilary A
Jenny N 
Thelma L
Fiona W
Gay S
S-J Auld
Kate E
Alisson F
Julz P
Peggy K
Margaret B
Janis K
Robyn M
Kerry McL
Liz J
Judy D
Sue B

Below are just SOME of the LBs that have been sent. 
Excuse me for not putting the names with them but that is actually a really time consuming task.  Forgive me. 

A huge big well done to everyone for all your efforts in making and sending these laundry bags and a big Thank you to Fiona for collecting them all and distributing them all to the chaplains who handed them out.

And lastly, thanks again, to the troops who jumped in to help their local community when they most needed them.

Definitely local heroes that is for sure!

Till next time…. keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx