Lisa’s Big Day Out

Written by AHQ

28 March 2016

I hope you have all had a great Easter weekend.   Trust it included some chocolate, some loving friends and family and most importantly, I hope it was safe and happy for all.   Special thoughts go out to our serving men and women, wherever they are, who are not with their loved one this weekend.  

I have a lovely story for you tonight.   Lisa recently met up again with some of her recipients.  It is so good to be able to share stories like this as I hope it shows just how much the troops appreciate what we do for them.  

Here it is as told to me by Lisa…

Hi Jan-Maree

As you know I drove up to Albury in NSW this Saturday. I was invited by SGT Mike.   was lucky enough to be assigned to make both the quilt and Laundry Bag for him. Mike was on an eight month deployment to Camp Baird JTF633 just out of Dubai. I say lucky enough as not only have I been able to meet up with him when he came home on leave he also invited me up to Albury to visit after he came home. We were to meet at the SS&A Club on Olive Street in Albury. SS&A stands for Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen’s Club … I learned from reading the sign out the front of the building.

I found out that Mike had also arranged for a few others from the group that he served with to come and have lunch with us. I met CPL Laura P and LACW Lauren M (Patsy H made her quilt top). I also met Lisa R, one of the Albury quilters for Aussie Heroes. She bought along one of her quilts  … it is going to one very lucky recipient I think.

Lisa N and Lisa R

We “networked” for a bit before the meal arrived. The overriding theme was how thrilled everyone was when they got their Aussie Heroes parcels and how that excitement permeates through the group. How sometimes the extra goodies have to be guarded and not kept in the communal fridge but that mostly they are shared. Most of all how much the parcels mean to the individual – that someone from “Home”, that they don’t know, cares enough to say “thank-you for your service”.  It is a HUGE morale boost and sometimes makes all the difference. Did you know that to buy Tim Tams O/S they can retail for about AUD$12.00 per packet? They are treasured, shared, used as bargaining chips and ice breakers with visitors. I asked if sometimes the Tim Tams or other goodies arrive as sent or do they melt with the heat … the answer was that sometimes they are a little worse for wear but they go in the fridge and it doesn’t matter what they look like … they still taste the same. One lucky recipient received a big box of Maltesers … it melted into one big block, got refrigerated and eaten by breaking pieces off the block.

Mike, Lauren and Laura shared individual experiences and photos from their deployment (nothing classified – promise!). One of the photos showed the desert landscape near the camp. While I am sure it is beautiful in its own way I know why everyone I met that day said the thing they missed the most was grass and trees … mostly anything green. That one of the more difficult things they missed was the quiet if they were at home, alone … no hum of voices, machinery, computers or the loud rumble or high pitch of the aircraft … just the quiet. Mowing the grass and daily chores were becoming more familiar. Being with family and friends … treasured.

It was a wonderful afternoon meeting some very interesting, genuine, funny,strong and talented people. I felt privileged to be presented with a framed memento, a thank-you to share with all of the Aussie Heroes Quilters … There were photos taken by everyone (hopefully wending their way to Jan-Maree) and I found myself unable to exercise my usual mad ninja skills at avoiding the camera lens …

I drove home the next day admiring our beautiful landscape and the imagination of the people who came up with of the place names – the turn-off from the Hume Highway for Eldorado is Cararagamungee Road (try saying thatquickly), Turnip Bridge or, Broken Creek. Hoping that I had wrapped up the frame and I wasn’t going to get home a find the glass broken. Feeling honestly humbled by the generosity of the men and women who serve, singing loudly and wiping away the odd tear … I have allergies(that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Somewhere I received some photos of photos of Lisa R and her quilt…. I know I saved them somewhere safe….. apparently not so safe as I thought as I now can’t find them for love nor money!  Apologies Lisa!

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

Jan-Maree  xx

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Niven

    So lovely! Thanks for sharing your story.


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