Well, as promised, here is some of what I got up to in Townsville on the weekend. As most of you will know I have “contacts” all over the Middle East, as well as in South Sudan and the Sinai. These “Liaison Officers” are all people who have volunteered to help me spread word of Aussie Heroes, either by taking requests for quilts and passing them back to me, or by simply receiving the boxes of laundry bags we send over and handing them around in their location. Sometimes my relationship with those contacts is fairly business based and, although it is friendly, it is not particularly personal. Every now and then someone comes along with whom a real friendship sparks and when that happens it is a real bonus. I have been so blessed to have it happen a few times, Merida was one and you can read about her here. We are still in contact and I hope to go and stay with her later this year. Kylie from Kabul is definitely another. I promised her that once she came home and life settled down I would go up and visit her, hence my trip to Townsville.
Kylie received a quilt from Liz. It lives in her living room where she sees it every day.
Kylie lives with her beautiful and amazing daughter Alicia. Yes, she now has a quilt of her own.
Whilst in Townsville I managed to catch up with another of my contacts. This fellow is Ben and he was also in Kabul but not in the same location as Kylie.
Kylie actually requested a quilt for Ben. She went out to his location for some training and came back and passed me his details.
He was totally mystified when first the laundry bag arrived and then his quilt and his workmates were just a little jealous!
Ben was not due to be home just yet but on the 18th of June he was involved in an accident with a Bushmaster. Thankfully the injuries are not as serious as they could have been but damage to his shoulder prevented him from continuing his service in Afghanistan so he had to come home. He let me know he was on his way and he would not be there to answer any more of my emails. Luckily he arrived home in Townsville the day before I arrived. It was lovely to be able to catch up with him in person.
The other reason Ben contacted me was to let me know that he received a Wounded Warrior quilt whilst in hospital over there. He promised a photo of the quilt as soon as he arrived back. This quilt top was made by Miriam and I am pretty sure it was quilted by Stephanie T.
Each WWQ is sent with a laundry bag and this one was made by Terry especially for this purpose.
When I said I was going to Townsville one of our recipients told me that I had to take Kylie to MJ & Co Espresso Bar for coffee as the owners, Tanya and Dane, are friends of theirs. As luck would have it Kylie already knew Tanya. Small world.
We spent Sunday morning at the Markets with the lovely Alicia, her friend Emma and Armadeus. I never did ask why they named their dog Armadeus.
In the afternoon I visited this fellow, another recipient of Liz’s but one of our very earliest of recipients to put in a request way back in April 2012. He contacted me recently and wanted help to put a rod pocket on the back of his quilt so that he can hang it on his wall. I offered to sort it when I came to Townsville. This fellow was really helpful back in the early days of AHQ and he was quite surprised that I remembered him.
He had told me that his sons had laid claim to his original laundry bag after his arrival back in Australia and Liz had made him a new one once she heard but I could not resist taking the boys a couple of bags made especially for them.
So that, in a nutshell, is my trip to Townsville, at that is all I am going to tell you about. A girl has got to have a few secrets! The weather was gorgeous and the company was warm and welcoming. Look out Townsville, and Kylie, I might have to come back again soon!!!
A last note. While waiting to board my aircraft out of Townsville I noted that four soldiers were also on the same flight. It wasn’t opportune to talk to them before boarding so I waited till we landed in Sydney and approached them armed with four of my business cards. I asked them if they had heard of Aussie Heroes and one of them had. I gave them my business cards and asked them to contact me if they deployed in the future or to pass on the info to any of their mates who are deployed. Who knows, maybe they will, maybe they won’t but at least four more soldiers know about us now.
The following people have sent quilts and laundry bags off this week. I am writing this at 8am so if your sent me photos after 8am they may not have made it to this list. If you think you should be on the list and you are not please let me know.
Till next time………………..keep spreading the word and happy stitching. JMxx