Thanks on Thursday

Written by AHQ

3 August 2017

Some great messages this week.. starting with this one…. 

Jo H (NSW) had a lucky break this week. This is her story….

“Ohhh I just had the biggest surprise…Answered a knock at the door. A young man in sunnies asked me if I was Jo H who made quilt for others.. I said yes and he said
I’m J and you made a quilt for me in Iraq.

OMG I was stunned.  He said it was green and gold with Australian & NZ animals and the Taji emblem…. I remembered it well.

Lots of hugs, a few tears  and lots of smiles. His family live at XXXX. He hadn’t brought the note I wrote but Net searched for HXXX, Coffs Harbour and tracked me down. Love technology.
Thank heavens I was home.

He said I made his day when the quilt arrived and how it lifted his spirits that someone from homemade it for him– more welling up from me…

He is home for a few more weeks and then back to his base in Queensland.

A small idea of how you feel J-M when you meet the recipients.”

And as if that isn’t enough… Sandy had the surprise of her life…. she got a phone call from one of her recipients!  How special is that. 

And here is a few more thank you messages….


Dear Melissa,

I am writing to thank you for my quilt. It’s fantastic. I like it because it represents all my interests! It is something I will keep forever.  I am currently 5 months into my deployment, very keen to get back home to Australia.

I am originally from Melbourne.  Currently I am posted to Darwin but will be reposted to Victoria next year. Very excited to get back to Victoria!

Once again thanks for the quilt and your ongoing support.


Dear Bronwyn

First and foremost, thank you very much for the outstanding Quilt and Laundry Bag that you have beautifully put together for me.  One of the few comforts that I brought with me from home was my Broncos Rugby League jersey along with a few episodes of the Simpson’s, my favourite TV show. I really appreciate the research you have done to get the team emblem spot on and the Simpson’s silhouette is such an accurate reflection of my family of five…..albeit four girls.

Teaching is a most admirable profession with no greater privilege than to educate and guide future generations, so thank you for your part in that.  I remember with great fondness two teachers (Maths and Science) from my senior high school year that shaped and enabled my decision to undertake a Degree prior to joining the Army.

My team and I are charged with ensuring that our personnel in all forward locations across the Middle East Region have the equipment, stores, supplies and support they need to do the very challenging, inherently dangerous and difficult job they have been asked to do on behalf of the Australian people.

As a nation, we have been in this same Middle East Region a number of times over the last century and to be leaving my own footprints in this well-trodden sand, I consider an absolute honour. 

Knowing that others from Australia, strangers such as you, understand and care about those in uniform abroad and those at home is an immeasurable comfort and one not ever forgotten…. The quilt of course will be an enduring reminder of that and will take up post in my Bar Room when I return to Australia.

Thank you so much for your wonderful, one of a kind gift, your well wishes and your thoughts. 

Warmest regards to you, Peter and your family.

Hi Georgina, Jan-Maree, 

I have just come back from mid deployment leave and found a parcel sitting on my desk from Hero Quilts. 

I hurriedly opened the box and found my Carlton Quilt. I was so excited and the quilt itself is fantastic, the theme song down the side was a nice touch and had me singing the tune quite a few times during the day which had my work mates in a tither to say the least. 
Oh, the chocolates didn’t last long all gone that day, I shared it with my work mates who have a huge appetite when it comes to chocolate ah well…….. 
Once again thank you for your kind gift which I will cherish, and for all the efforts of Aussie Hero Quilters. 
Kind Regards 


Dear Bridget and family, 

Firstly I would like to Thankyou so very much for the amount of work and dedication you have put into the quilt and laundry bag, you exceed mine and all the boys expectations!! The added touch of the Canine cell symbol was a perfect touch that I am so stoked with! I must say we all extremely appreciate the work you ladies do for us and it does make us feel very special whilst a world away so Thankyou!! 

I am the recipient of your amazing work that has pride of place on my bed a world away. I have been in the military for nearly 15 years and deployed on operations 7 times within my career with the majority to Afghanistan. My time there was either as a high risk searcher  (guy with a metal detector looking for IEDs or roadside bombs) to a team Leader, leading those teams, to a back to back Tour as a dog handler. My other rotations have been to Sumatra as a part of a disaster relief operation due to the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, peace keeping operations in Solomon Islands, and a few other bits an pieces around the place. 

This letter is a small token of my appreciation for the dedication and work you ladies have provided especially yourself, again I am extremely happy with these gifts and cannot Thankyou enough! They are already going to good use and myself and my Explosive Detection Dog are feeling a little warmer at night so Thankyou.  I intend to give the blanket to my daughter when I return as I am certain she will Love it! 

Again Thankyou for your time and effort .

Yours sincerely 

Hi Rebekah,

This. Quilt. Is. Awesome!

When they asked us to pick something to base our quilts on, I immediately went to my nerd passion: Star Trek all the way! I was kind of nervous about how it would turn out because I didn’t know if any of the quilt-making volunteers would even know what I was talking about. I guess I got lucky that you happened to be checking out the list that day 😃 When I first pulled it out of the box I went “Huh? Where’s the Star Trek?” Then I laid it out and stepped back and saw it straight away. I love the laundry bag too, it really captures those bright retro colours.

I’m going to get a lot of use out of it. Where we currently are is superhot (like, fifty degrees in the day hot) but the air conditioning in our tent is icy cold. An extra layer for my bed is going to be very much appreciated. Plus of course it adds some much needed style!

We’re a small team out here and I am the resident communications specialist. Probably my most important job lately has been making sure that the latest episodes of Game of Thrones get downloaded on time. (OMG, what about the ending of this week’s one!!) Even on deployment there’s some things that you just can’t miss.

I wish you the best of luck with the quilt making (and the mechanical engineering too, haha!). Everyone here is very appreciative of the work people back home have put into these and we all eagerly await the fortnightly mailbag to see what the latest creations are, and who got what. (It turns into a bit of a contest at times!)

Thanks very much again. I’m going to keep this for a long time.



Hi Jean,

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for my laundry bag. I love it, the camel’s are a fantastic touch and I loved that you had taken the time to put my initials on it 🙂 I have finally got on a deployment after 20 years in the Air Force and am half way now – woo hoo 😉

I have planned a holiday to go to Rhodes, Greece and stay near the Old City. I was actually tossing up between there and Dubrovnik but settled on Rhodes. Maybe next time I will get to Dubrovnik 🙂

Thank you again for the lovely laundry bag. It will always remind me of here and the wonderful people I have met since being here plus,  the people at home supporting us and sending care packages and making beautiful quilts and laundry bags. It’s a highlight of the deployment to get such amazing gifts 🙂

Take care

G’day Helen

l am 23 yrs old and have been in the army for 4 yrs l have been enjoying it so far.  l am currently posted to Darwin at Robertson Barracks 1st brigade. l am in 8/12 Regt which is an artillery corp.  In my spare time l enjoy fishing, watching the AFL, going to the gym and catching up with me mates. This is the first time l have been deployed overseas and has been very hard work for the last month and a half.

Upon receiving the laundry bag you made, the design of it was comforting as it reminded me of going up on my parents farm and sure did brighten up my day.

Anyway thank you very much for it and it will be put to good use. 

Kind regards 

Good evening Anne H,

My name is CPL XXXX currently serving in Malaysia, formerly from Darwin.

I have received your laundry bag and it has come in very handy, we all appreciate the effort and time you have put in to make us feel appreciated and that’s exactly what you done.
If I have read right you live in Hobart, I have not had the opportunity to visit there however it is on my to do list, someday.

I’m sorry to hear about your father who passed last year especially at the ripe age of 97, and I appreciate his service, the members like your father is why we are so proud of what we do today to show them there efforts did not go unwanted.

I hope this email also finds you well and once again thank you very much.


Hi Cathie,

I just wanted to write to you and personally thank you for my amazing laundry bag and my beautiful quilt I love them both. 

Thank you for all the hard work that you go to for providing these works of art for us that are away on deployment it brings so much joy and happiness when they arrive in the post.
All the best and thankyou again. 

Much Love


Shared on Facebook and repeated here for non-Facebookers…

Jo B, you have done an amazing job, couldn’t of received anything more perfect thank you so much! (Joan and robin, really appreciate the laundry bag too). Also a shout out to everyone else who is apart of this generous organisation, thank you for your continued support in making all the different quilts and laundry bags 


Good afternoon Jan-Maree and Janet,

I’m super stoked about my Hero Quilt and laundry bag. As always, it’s more amazing than I could have ever imagined, it just leaves me speechless and I cannot express my thanks enough.  Thank you so much for your time and support.

These quilts do more than just keep spirits up while on deployment. It means a lot to receive a gift from back home that shows us that our sacrifice by being away from friends and family is noticed and appreciated.  Biscuits and chocolates on the side definately help too.  (I shared them with my work section to spread the moreale boost further.)  (JM next project; “Aussy hero biscuits and chocolates”?)

The ship’s photographer will make a group photo once more quilts have been received and I will ensure that I am there to display your fine work.

Thank you once again.

Yours aye,


“Good morning Jo,

So I recently had the pleasure of opening a parcel with a beautiful quilt inside. Firstly I can not thank you enough it was truly a delight and wonderfully styled. Without sounding inappropriate your quilt was beyond better then I was expecting I  was exceptionally happy to say the least. The embroidery of the dog Busta almost looks just like my dog – couldn’t believe it considering I didn’t send through a picture so you nailed that one on the head!!!!.

It is hard to explain how something relevantly small at the end of the day can have such a memorable impact on someone in this environment, what a special organisation. As sentimental as this sounds I will cherish this quilt as a memento of my time here in Taji and it will be a symbol in my house for years to come. The work you guys do is amazing and I know that these quilts take time and the creativity at times would not be easy. Just watching a few of us receive our quilts has been wonderful seeing peoples faces light up. Please continue this as you have done such a good job and it really does make a difference for those serving.
My kindest regards 


Hi Lynne,

I received a lovely parcel today from you with my quilt, thank you so much, I love it!

I am sure you have been told many many times how wonderful it is to know that someone back home is thinking of you and appreciates what you are doing, it means so much. So once again, thank you Lynne. Your thoughtfulness and the time you all give brings such a smile to everyone’s faces when they receive their parcels. You are very special people.

Much love


G’day Kaye.

Thank you so much for the laundry bag and goodies. I love it. All the Iraqis who work in the laundry are enamored with it as well. I think it is the kangaroo.

I was posted to Ballarat in 1995/6 and loved my time there. My family and I travelled to as many places in Victoria as we could but we never made it to Portland. Our loss obviously. I was retired for two and a half years (I retired early at 51) but got a call to come back into the Army for this trip and as I was actually starting to get bored with retired life, I said yes. I have four sons and a grandson and granddaughter but unfortunately they live in Cairns and I on the Gold Coast so I don’t get to see them as often as I would like. Anyway, enough about me.
Thank you again for the bag and you can be assured it will get used on a regular basis.


Hi Jean,

Thank you for the wonderful laundry bag, I certainly won’t have difficulties trying to locate my laundry bag from today onwards. I appreciate your time and effort that went into providing not only myself but past soldiers with a personalised item that will no doubt be cherished long after this deployment. This is my sixth tour in the Middle East and the first time I have heard about Aussie Quilts, so I will be sure to spread the word.

Thank you for sharing your creation and a story with me, as it allowed my mind to drift to another place, even if it was for a minute or two.
Kind regards,


Hi Julie Ann,

I just wanted to say thank you very much for the great laundry bag you made for me. It turned out  better than I could have imagined and I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

 All of us deployed over here are very thankful for the time and effort you all put into making these gifts for us.

We all look forward to receiving mail to check out the blankets and bags we get sent.

Once again I can’t thank you enough.

Hi Jean,

Thank you so much for the laundry bag. I wasn’t expecting a package, and it was a really nice surprise.  I appreciate how much work must have gone into it.

I’m really enjoying this deployment. I’m am working with a really good group of guys that makes the time go a lot quicker.

Thank you so much and keep doing what you are doing to support us.


Hello Robyn, today I received a laundry bag that Carole M made with material donated by you and Robin E. I wanted to send a quick note of thanks and ask that you pass my warmest regards to both Carole and Robin and to the team at the Maitland Patchwork Quilters for what they have done and continue to do in support of the Australian Forces in the Middle East. 

By the time I leave here several months would have passed and the little view of Australiana, especially the Kookaburra are a subtle reminder of home. Thank you.


Dear Steve & Jenny

Your letter does find me happy & sort of healthy . This is a small note to send thanks and appreciation for such a lovely gesture.

Lego is something I love. I enjoy making the kits when at home with my daughter, she likes to help. Her version of helping is to move pieces around & be a general menace. Part of the fun is to correctly employ her to help sort the pieces into the correct colour pile.

You are correct, laundry is not exciting. There are a few nuances with doing your laundry on a warship. I am lucky to live above the laundry so I don’t have to transit half the ship to get there. At sea we have different days assigned to each mess for completing your personal laundry and there have been times, due to water restrictions, that the laundry has been out of bounds. So when it reopens there is a mad dash. I have sat in laundry, on a camp chair, reading a magazine for half an hour waiting for a machine to become available.  This has taught me to appreciate the ability at home to chuck my stuff in the machines and have it done straight away.

The most difficult part of a deployment is being away from family. My little girl is nearly four; in fact, she will turn four while I am away. This will be the first birthday of hers that I will miss. Before I left, Emma & I went to a build-a-bear workshop and each created the other a bear. Emma,who loves the movie Frozen, made a very cute Elsa Bear. 

I absolutely love the laundry bag you made for me. It warms the heart knowing there are beautiful people out there, who even though you don’t us, make the effort to do something nice for us. The sacrifices we make are definitely worth it knowing that there are people like you that appreciate it.

Thanks again

Hi Jenny

Thank you for the wonderful laundry bag. It will surely get some use whilst I am here in Kabul.

I know that all the members of our Task Group appreciate the efforts of the ladies who make these laundry bags and quilts. It brings a part of Australia into our life over here.

Once again Thank you. I really appreciate everything you have done.

Dear Jenny

Thankyou so much for the laundry bag & nibbles that you sent. The bag was way above my expectations & I absolutely love it!!

This is my 2nd tour of Afghanistan now, however last time I was in a different location.
Both times though I have been over here for ANZAC Day & it is a humbling experience.
I have enjoyed my time here but I believe 2 deployments is enough! Once again, thankyou so much for the laundry bag & goodies.

Kind Regards

Hello the Nesbitt Family,
Firstly, I would like to thank you all very much for the quilt it was spectacular, it will be treasured and thanks for the letters and little treats, I will share them with the rest of the crew here.  It sounds like you have a very musically talented family.

I have been in the military for 33 years, 18 years Army Artillery and 15 years Airforce Technician, I only play a very small part in this campaign (Operation OKRA).  I currently work on the E7 Wedgetail it is a Boeing 737 that being the smaller of the two jets in the pictures below.  The larger jet is a KC30 refuelling tanker.

It is very hot over here it has reached temperatures as high as 61c on the tarmac the average day is about 50c it is amazing how quick you acclimatize to the heat.

I noticed that Paul mentioned he had a Great Grandfather who was a Machine Gunner in WW1, and fought at Gallipoli and the Western front I think those men did it a lot harder than we do today I hope he made it home, I have visited Gallipoli it is such a sombre and very moving feeling. Tell Grace I was into agriculture I started off as a roustabout in the shearing sheds with my Grandmother as the cook, I lived at a little placed south of Broken hill.  When I was young I wanted to be a Vet but I did not like to study so I joined the military.

Once again, I thank you and all of your minions for the fabulous work you do with quilts and laundry bags – your work does not go unnoticed whenever a new quilt comes in it brightens up our little world over here.


Hello Pennie,

I just want to thank you for the amazing laundry bag that you made for me. It is a very thoughtful gesture and one that I am extremely grateful for. It must have taken you quite some time to manufacture. I have been using it a great deal as we have to do a lot of laundry up here in the heat! I also want to thank you for your kind letter and snacks that you provided. You certainly have a few ties to engineering and the Navy in particular. 

My wife has been following the great work that has been conducted by the Aussie Hero Quilts team for some years now. She is a keen advocate for the work you are doing and indeed so am I . You may not get to see it every time but the work you do is greatly appreciated and makes life at sea that little more comfortable. It is nice to know that we are appreciated over here, so far from Australia.

Once again thank you for your thoughtful gift. It is something I will treasure for years to come.


Good morning/ afternoon Shirley, Di and Jan-Maree,

Just wanted to say I received my packages today THANK YOU : ) soooo much. I really appreciate what a great job you have done on my quilt Shirley and you Di for my laundry bag.

To say the least both items are SENSATIONAL. I will take a photo and send them to you.
Thank you also Jan-Maree for your efforts and organisation, your amazing.
I really appreciate your card/ letter the brief stories from you both they where such a pleasure to read and a nice distraction from daily operations. I will keep them for all time.
Shirley it is an honour to know that your the daughter of a Desert Rat of Tobruk, they are true Australian heroes, “WOW” I can’t believe it, your father must of had some amazing stories and such a tough brave man. 
I hope you eventually sold something at the exhibition Shirley!! Do you do this exhibition every year?
Grand kids I love them you have to cherish the moments…ay
I am not much of a golfer, however, I do enjoy the game. Games for me are few and far between.
Shirley please pass on my regards to Gay for the Hawthorn memorabilia, I love it….and it means a lot to me.
Di the laundry bag is great and the extra little treats you add have been a delight. I have shared the biscuits with my colleges/ mates along with a nice coffee, thank you. I love the description of your little country town. I can just imagine the clear blue skies, the green grass and the clean fresh air as it is something we miss over here.
Sounds like you ladies live in fantastic parts of the world. I think today’s temp. reached 50c (one of the cooler days lol), however, it is usually hot and dusty here and we are now approaching the hottest part of the year which is August. 

I hope I can come and visit your part of the world some day when I settle back in Australia.  

I live in Newcastle north of Sydney and I am in the Air Force.

I can’t say too much, however, everyone over here is very committed, focused and achieving/ kicking some great goals. 
We certainly appreciate the work and support you magnificent lady’s do for us you are truly “amazing lady’s” we are proud of you.
Thank you again Shirley, Di and Jan-Maree your work it has blown me away : ) I will cherish them forever.
Take care and stay safe ladies.

Dearest Sandy and Dianne
Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for both your efforts in creating the quilt for me. I am so thankful that you have both put in such a great effort for me and for both of your kind words in your letters. The time and effort that was put in to making the quilt is very evident and my co-workers commented on what a brilliant quilt. As such,  I am ever so humble and grateful for the quilt. I cannot correctly express my sincere gratitude for your efforts and I hope that you both take some pleasure and pride in knowing that you have made my day and that my time away from Australia, family and friends is so much more comfortable and pleasant as a result of receiving the quilt. Every member of the group of ADF personnel, that I am a part of, have taken great pride in showing other team members the results of the quilts made by the AHQ fraternity for them.
There is also a funny side story to the quilt eventually getting to me. One of my co-workers was sent to Bahrain for a conference with personnel from HMAS Newcastle when one of the ships company approached her with the postage box containing my quilt. Now even though the box was correctly addressed to me at my work, it was sent to HMAS Newcastle in Bahrain which is several hundred kilometres away from AMAB Airbase (where my work is located) The young sailor apparently approached my offsider and asked if she knew me to which she replied “Sure, he is my boss”. Can’t work that one out but it all panned out in the end
Again I cannot thank you both enough for your work in producing this quilt for me. Although I am in my last weeks of my deployment, may I take this opportunity to again thank you for your work and thank you for your work in providing comfort and pleasure  to all the deployed members of the ADF who are away from home.

My deepest thanks and regards

Good morning Karen,

Thank you so much for the quilt, card and goodies.

Received end of last week, mail can take a while to reach us here, so very glad to have received.
I am still missing a box from home sent in April!!!! And the local authorities here are not above asking for bribes, we have had a few attempts to thwart. So even getting mail is a hazardous business in South Sudan.
So I was very pleased you provided your email, so I can let you know directly.
The bag is brilliant! Incredible job of turning my rough sketch of an idea to reality, really well done, I love it. A magnificent momento for my time here. Will be used for years to come.
Everyone on OP ASLAN is now embedded in a UN position. Once upon a time, the equivalent of myself was a spare, administering the Australian personnel. So in first half of deployment, my hours were long in primary UN job, and then as the Admin bridge back to Australia after hours. Fatigue and the environmental health are the nearer risks. So having a good team, and being internally well organized has helped our Aussie Contingent succeed. Has been a very good deployment, with two months to go.


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

Jan-Maree  xx 

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  1. Jo

    How special. It makes the making of them worth even more…


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