Please look after your mates!

Written by AHQ

20 August 2013

We will have our normal Gratitude Post tonight but first I need to talk about something else.  

You must know that I am passionate about supporting our troops and letting them know that they are appreciated so I hope you will understand if I divert momentarily from AHQ business to bring something else up.

Australia has a great reputation for looking after our mates!  We all need our mates!  It almost goes without saying that if your mate needs a hand you will be there for him. Moving house?  You are there.  

Health not good?  You are there. 
Loses a family member or a friend.  You are there.  
I think that is especially evident in the Defence community.  I know what it is like from my own 15  years of service.  You acquire a second family, or your family becomes extended. You might not see each other for years, but when you catch up again, it is just like there was no gap.  

I, for one, could not get by without my friends, and if you are on my friend list, you better understand that I am a pathological carer (a term coined by Miss Angela and I earlier this week).  I will be in your corner when you need it, on your back when you need it and ALWAYS there for you!  If you deploy then Standby to Receive!!! And if I think you need a little TLC when you come home – I will send you another care package!   I know this is the case for many of you, not just me.  I know I am not the only pathological carer out there.  

Sadly I regularly get messages from those who receive our parcels and they comment that they were so excited to receive our parcel as it is the only mail they have had…….since they deployed!   

They are not looking for pity but I know a lot of them would love to hear from home.

I just want to take a little time to encourage everyone to think of their mates

Please don’t contact me and ask me how to send parcels to the troops, or ask if you can adopt a troop.  The Defence has some information on how you can support troops here. I don’t have the time to start coordinating care packages as well as quilts and laundry bags. I really wish I did, but I don’t think that is the answer.   I am not asking everyone to start sending packages to the anonymous “Soldier, Sailor or Airman”.  Those packages help to fill a void but they are not even remotely the same as getting a package that has YOUR name on it.  

So why are guys and girls not getting any mail?   

There will be a whole bucket load of reasons.  Look at Australia’s economic situation.  We have families on low incomes who cannot afford to turn the heaters on in winter.  I bet they can’t afford to send much to a deployed family member.  Maybe there is no family.  There maybe no girlfriend, boyfriend or partner.  I know several people in that boat.  I used to work with a bloke who was in his forties, single, the only child of deceased parents, both of whom were only children.  He had absolutely no family in the world!!!  None that he knew of anyway.  Who would have sent mail to him?  Hopefully his mates! 

A care parcel does not have to cost much.  Buy a few things every time you go to the Supermarket.  Add in a couple of magazines that you think they might like, even ones you have flipped through first.  Most importantly, add in a note, a letter if you can manage it. Something that says, “G’day mate, hope you are doing okay.  Can’t wait till you get home. Take care…….”  If you really can’t manage a Bx2 sized box then buy a padded postpack, put in some Jaffas, Cool Fruits, Cool Mints or Minties, or something else that won’t melt in the heat and add a funny card.

Often the guys over there know who is not getting any mail and they arrange for their family to send mail to their mates, but it still is not the same.  It is appreciated and enjoyed, but it is just not the same.  And don’t just send once – even a parcel or card once a month would make a difference.  

And don’t assume that because someone has family, parents, a wife, a husband, partner, fiance etc that they are getting mail!  It is not always the case.   I know one friend of mine whose ONLY parcels came from his wife and I, and I had not even met him at the time.  He had sisters and sister-in-laws and he must have had mates. 

Do not underestimate the value of mail.  Ask someone who has deployed just how important it is!  Comments on facebook this morning include

“Mail is the BEST thing you can receive whilst deployed.  best morale boost and you always share your stuff with people who didn’t get any mail that turn so everyone wins.”

“When my son is deployed we send at least one package a every week, occasionally an extra magazine on its own.  he tells me the joy of receiving something every mail delivery is important.   Don’t assume mail is delivered weekly, at time he and his mates have gone without for mail for up to  four weeks.  More important is a short email twice a day, good morning and good night.  Again they may only read them once a week but they know you have thought of them.” 

I hope you don’t mind me raising this but if my message tonight motivates one person to send a parcel to a friend then it is worth it.  

Please don’t let our parcels be the only ones that your mates. 

Please please please LOOK after your mate.

So now on to some thank you messages for our normal gratitude post.  

Dear Stephanie,
Thank you very much for the quilt and bag! You have far exceeded any expectations I had for a quilt. I was especially impressed with the side that had ‘meow’ in stitches all around it.
I figured someone would get a laugh out of the interests ‘red purple cats chili’ theme!
Whilst it I shouldn’t rate it against the others quilts the guys have, I can say that most were jealous. And you were right about an easy to locate laundry bag ahahah
If I can I’ll have to get some action shots for you. When you have 3 weeks at a time at sea, its seeing people covered in quilts that makes everyone laugh. Especially the cat quilt ahah  You may not get to see the reactions when people get the quilts, but rest assured that everyone gets borderline insane when one gets here. Definitely lifts morale.
Thank you for taking the time to craft it.
Cheers again,
……Dear Anne,

I am a Lieutenant, I have been in Kabul for three months with another 3 months to go.  I would just like to say thank you for the quilt, knowing that people back home appreciate what we are doing makes every day we spend away from home and our loved ones worth while.

……To Sue

I am writing to you to give you my thanks for the excellent laundry bag that you made and that I was fortunate enough to receive. It is very generous and kind of you to use your time and materials to make these laundry bags for us. 
Many of us here have received laundry bags from the Aussie Hero Quilters and have all appreciated them immensely and enjoyed the hard work you and the other members of your group has put into the bags you have made for us.

Yours Sincerely
Dear aussie hero quilts 
Thank you very much for the beautiful quilt you sent me. It means a lot when you have people at home thinking of you, and I will treasure the quilt as a memento of my time here. 
And an especial thank you to Liz who made the quilt and sent me such a nice postcard. 

For a quilt that Louise made

I’ve received the quilt, and its amazing. It sums me up quite well so thank you and your team for making it for me.  I’ll get a picture of me and the quilt sometime this week and send it to you so you can see how happy I really am about it.

Dear Shirley,

Thank you very much for the laundry bag. It has certainly brightened up my room. I, and all the soldiers here, get overwhelmed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the Aussie volunteers, especially the laundry bag and quilt makers from Aussie Hero Quilts. Things are going well here, they are certainly keeping us busy but we are so looking forward to
going home and seeing friends and family very soon.Thanks again for the laundry bag and all the best wishes for you and your son.

Kind regards

Dear Shirley, 
I have been lucky enough to receive one of your lovely laundry bags and just wanted to say hi and thank you.  I have been given a bright pink one and it will brighten my room!
You are doing a great job and the support from home means the world!
Many thanks,

This following quilt top was pieced by Gail from BOM blocks sent in by Kylie to which Gail added a Southern Cross and several kangaroos.  The end result was beautifully quilted by Kym in kangaroos.  Stunning!

Dear Jan-Maree;
I just wanted to write and thank you and all your team of quilters.  I received my quilt last week and it is absolutely beautiful.  As i’m sure your aware we have very few personal items here, due to space.
The quilt you sent is now proudly covering my bed in my room, and makes me think of home every time I see it.
Please thank all your members for me, and if there is anything I can do in return, please let me know.
thank you again 

This one was Lynn’s quilt top, quilted by me.

Dear Jan-Maree,

Thank you very much for your efforts on the quilt. I am very impressed that you and your team of quilters were able to capture all my interests in one quilt.

It is very humbling to hear that you have dedicated your time and efforts giving back to the services, I guess once you have spent time yourself serving your country and experienced first hand what self sacrifice and dedication to our great land Australia; you realise what everyday heroes who are deployed miss out on,

especially those “creature comforts” This quilt is one of those very unique “creature comforts” that not only help me remember those moments in time that are missed by being away from family and friends whilst deployment, it also reminds me of what a look forward to appreciating when I return to Australia.

For me music, photography and the creative arts are a passion that I thoroughly enjoy as part of my life. I guess you could say I couldn’t go a day without hearing a favourite song or capturing a moment of life through a camera lens or even play a bass line from a song.  I am sure I would get along with your sons with their musical interests.

Many kind regards and thank you for your contribution

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

Follow Us…

You May Also Like…


  1. Sue Niven

    Thank you Jan-Maree for giving us some insight into how messages are so important for those away from home. I will certainly be looking into it further. Lovely to read the messages too.

  2. Janine C

    Makes you just want to hug them all.

  3. Beeshebags

    What a gorgeous smile peeking over the top of the quilt in the bottom pic.

    aka Tech Guru


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *