Meeting Rita…

Written by AHQ

12 January 2015

Hi all,
Before I forget – I have not forgotten that I need to write up the blog post about the laundry bag challenge we had for the Christmas Dinner, I just need the time to do it and extra admin, like coordinating the Centenary Quilt, has meant there has not been much time to spare. It is coming though, I promise. 

For tonight I have a nice story for you – wouldn’t you like to meet one of your recipients one day. The reality of that for most of the Aussie Hero Quilters, the simple fact of geography, means that is not likely to ever happen.  Sometimes you get lucky though and one of Rita M’s recipients was not about to let the small issue of geography stop him from meeting Rita and saying thank you in person.

We hear from many troops who say that they can’t believe that someone they don’t know would go to the effort of making something so special for them, expecting nothing in return. 

I am also always telling people it is hard to understand how much our quilts and laundry bags, in fact just our support, means to many of our deployed personnel, until you have seen it in their eyes, heard it in their voices and even felt it in the warmth of a hug. 

Well Rita had her own experience of that and this is what she wrote….


Hi Jan Maree
Well what a wonderful couple X and his wife are.  We met  at high noon in the local Hotel and commenced what is sure to be a lasting friendship as they are such friendly and down to earth people. X was so appreciative of the quilt I had made for him and has it proudly on his bed at home. 

The fact that someone you have never met would take the time and make the effort to travel 800km just to say thank you for what you have done for them is completely mind blowing.  When you make the quilts it is with pride that you are doing something to boost the morale and show your appreciation for the job and sacrifice our service personnel make, whether it be overseas in very trying conditions, or here in Australia.  

What we possibly don’t really get from the thank you messages is that they are heartfelt, and can only really be put into words and feelings if, like me, you are lucky enough to meet these  people.  The warmth of that first hug from both X and his wife was genuine and not just the “G’day hug” you may get from someone you have never met.  Theirs was from the heart, just like a family member that you haven’t seen for a while.    

From the moment we first spoke it was obvious that we were all going to get along just great, as there were, we discovered, so many things we had in common.  To learn how things are over there was even more interesting .  

This very moving meeting has made me more determined that I will carry on making quilts for these guys and gals for as long as I am able as I now know firsthand how much it means to them.  It has also been an eye opener as to how good or bad conditions can be for them, and the sacrifices that they make, not only by being in danger zones, but being away from loved ones for so long .  So anyone making a quilt, laundry bag or care package know that you are appreciated more than you may ever know.
Wow JM!   I know that you get to meet some of the recipients and now know how you feel.  I have just been blown away by today, I thought I told you to put those tissues away!  Now if I can only get this grit out of my eyes I will try and find the machine and go to it with much more gusto.

And this is what Rita’s recipient wrote after their meeting.

When Lance Corpral S showed me his quilt while we were serving overseas I asked “Where did you buy that?” He replied “you don’t buy it, there is a group of people back in Australia that make them for defence personnel that are deployed”. We then started the emails back and forth to get one for me. My wife Wendy explained to LCPL S and myself that these quilts are priceless and a lot of love and time goes into making them. 

I received my quilt once I had returned to Australia. I asked Wendy how do we say thank you and it was her idea to meet Rita in person. Wendy then organised for us to drive to SA from Victoria while I came home on leave from Townsville . That was a small way of saying thank you for such a priceless gift. We really enjoyed our lunch with Rita and Bob and it was a pleasure to be able to say thank you face to face. 


And thanks to all concerned for letting me share the story and the photo!  

Till next time……………….keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree xx

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  1. cahirasnana

    What a lovely post. There seems to be an awful lot of sand blowing around today.

  2. kiwikid

    Wow!! That is wonderful and what lovely people…all of them!!

  3. Unknown

    Thank you to the two wonderful ladies who made a quilt for my son. It was simply magnificent and will become a family heirloom.


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