This time last year – July 2012 by Janine

Written by AHQ

31 July 2013

The July 2012 blog reported that –  

AHQ opened a bank account to receive donations;

A  new sort of request was starting to come in  – not just wives, mothers and mates, but now bosses were requesting quilts to surprise their troops.

A sewing day was held in Penrith

with another planned in Canberra for August 4th by Jan-Maree and Jennie ( the lovely Warrant Officer’s wife). They hoped to collaborate on a WWQ during the Canberra sewing day.

This quilt by Liz was a show and tell for the Canberra sewing day

From an idea sent in by Jan, Jan-Maree put together a ‘Heroes wear dog tags logo’.

THANK YOU:  A soldier received a quilt from Sue in SA – a total surprise for him, requested by his wife. He was so pleased that he is now passing on addresses to have them sent to friends and workmates – people who he thinks will appreciate the work involved.  He is even encouraging his wife to start making quilts for us once he is home again! He sent this lovely thank you to Sue..
I would like to thank you for my quilt that arrived Saturday. I was quite humbled when I opened the box, as I had no idea what it was. I love what you have created and it will always have a special place in my house.
My Mother also makes quilts so I can appreciate the amount of time and effort that is placed into every quilt. That fact that this is all done on a volunteer bases has just blown my mind.
I will also include some photos for you once I get a chance. This can be a difficult task as my work day most days does not allow for a lot of down time.
I am not sure what else to say as I am still somewhat humbled by the entire experience as I just think of myself as an average soldier doing his job that doesn’t need any recognition. This is why it is nice from time to time for someone like yourselves to come a long with a thank you like that.  Again I can’t thank you enough for your time and effort.
2012 A farm themed quilt made by Wendy
QUILT SIZE:  Jan-Maree reviewed the quilt size.  ‘What we are aiming for is a quilt that is wide enough to sit on top of a single bed and long enough to go from under the pillow to the foot of the bed. Also, versatile enough that a big burly fellow can wrap it around his shoulders whilst sitting around a camp fire – a shorter wider quilt will not do this job hence our longer skinnier versions. ‘
The quilt specifications page above is up to date so it’s worth checking there before you begin sewing. You’ll also find the wording for the quilt label.
Aussie Hero Quilts are to be 42″ wide (or width of normal patchwork fabric) and from 70-75″ long.  Please use only cotton batting for versatility and breathability and bindings can be machine or hand sewn. Each quilt must have an Aussie Hero label on it – you can print these using printable paper or you can hand write them using a pigma pen or similar.

Michelle’s Aussie strip quilt with embroidery details
FWQs and WWQs:  As AHQ was spreading quilted comfort to our deployed service men and women another area of need came to our attention.  Sadly the month began with the death of one of our deployed men. SGT Blaine Diddams, of the elite Swanbourne-based Special Air Services Regiment (SASR), was killed on July 2 while on his seventh tour of Afghanistan.

Jan-Maree wrote on the blog:  “I have known that I was going to write this post since late last week and all over the weekend I have been thinking about how to word it so that I pay tribute to a fallen hero without causing anyone unnecessary pain.
After news reached the Australian public of the death of SGT Diddams I started thinking about a quilt for his family.  Was it appropriate for us to offer them one?  Would it be of comfort to them?   I felt the answer to both questions was “yes” but I needed to seek approval from “the powers that be”, in this case, the Chaplains, as I felt that was the right thing to do. “
And so AHQ took on the privilege of making of Fallen Warrior Quilts.

WWQ by Claire

By the middle of July two more soldiers had been wounded in Afghanistan. AHQ provide Wounded Warrior quilts that are held in the hospital in Kandahar, in vacuum sealed bags, to be given to any wounded soldiers who transit through there on their way to hospital in Germany.  It’s important that we don’t run short of these so as the quilts are used we sent replacements.

An experienced soldier, recently returned to Australia told Jan-Maree that he just doesn’t think AHQ realize how much what we do means to them.  He said, “If I were to be injured and wake up in Germany with one of your Aussie Hero Quilts on me with a kangaroo or the southern cross or the flag or some other Aussie emblem on it that would mean so much!”

April BOM quilted by Kim

THANK YOU:  Carolynn received this great thank you for a lovely pink quilt:  

I was absolutely thrilled to receive the quilt and laundry bag you made for me, in the mail yesterday. Everyone gets excited on mail day, and I was extra excited when I saw the Aussie Hero Quilts label on the box. The pink and black are perfect for brightening up my bunk and making it feel more like home. I also love the patterns of the embroidery across the quilt, I imagine they took a lot of your time to create.
I wanted to thank you not only for the quilt, but for what it represents. We work long hours and live in cramped conditions and the time difference sometimes makes it hard to stay in touch with family and friends. It is such a boost to know that people back in Australia support us and are thinking of us.
I have attached some pictures of the quilt on my bed and the laundry bag (already in use!) so you can see how much it brightens things up.
Again, thanks so much.

The pink quilt

THANK YOU:   I just want to say a quick thank you for your support and care package. I love the Quilt which is currently on my swag and everyone who sees it comments on it. It really did help me out and lift my spirits whilst I was building the Patrol Base Chakajuy.

I am an Australian Engineer (Electrician) working on the front line with my fellow tradesman and plant operators. We are building an Australian and Afghan Patrol Base which is the most furthermost reign we, as an army, have operated in. It takes around 3 to 5 days road move to get out to the Patrol base with a few dangerous obstacles on the way. We are building the base so we can continue to Mentor the ANA (Afghan National Army). The Mentoring is challenging but rewarding in the end.
We have finished the patrol base now and I am back at the Main base in TK that is why I can write this letter to you. Our counterparts are now slowly filtering in so we can get home to our friends and family back to sunny Australia.  Being 3rd generation Army my family are proud of what I’m doing and will be there to greet me when I return.
Once again on behalf of my mates, we salute you for the package and encouraging words.
The young man above, and his mates, slept for a month on the ground in pits with no running water or electricity, whilst establishing this patrol base.  There are other blokes, lots of them, who spend their entire time in Afghanistan sleeping on the ground or on stretchers. 
I spoke to one mum recently who said her son was so pleased that this time, for the first time, he came in from patrol to an actual bed to sleep on – with sheets!  He goes out on patrol for three weeks or so then comes in for a short period, maybe only for a few days, and then heads out again. In those few days he collects his mail, gets in touch with his family, washes his clothes, eats proper food and rests. 
Many of these fellows have protected identity status so their names cannot be published. They don’t know us and they don’t know if we are aware of protected identity.  While it would be lovely to receive a thank you message from every soldier, sailor and airman who receives one of our quilts or laundry bags, it’s just not practical.  Whenever there is a thank you message shared on the blog we all just have to smile and know that it is meant for all of us.

2012 Made by Judith
THANK YOU:  I came into work today and was surprised when I saw a package on my desk. When I opened the package I was even more surprised when I saw that it was the Aussie Hero quilt, laundry bag, beanie and also some goodies. There was also a letter from Wendy L & Nan.
I would just like to extend my greatest thanks for the package and not only the quilt, laundry bag and goodies but also the letter. I will really cherish this.
Can you please thank Wendy & Nan for the wonderful package. It really made my day. Thanking you again from the bottom of my heart.

We soon had a a request from someone who saw his parcel and would love to receive something similar. 

2012 Made by Judith
THANK YOU:  As promised, please see attached photos of me VERY happy with my quilt and laundry bag! (Not sure where my hair and make-up people got to, they were supposed to be there …). Thanks so much for all your hard work.

Whoo hoo!
Quilt made by Wendy and Denise

An exciting event for AHQers was the discovery of these flag panels in more than one shop. They featured in quilts and laundry bags for months.

2012 Made by Fran
And a very happy laundry bag
2012 Made by Edith

And lastly, July 2012 saw an exciting 347 follows on Facebook. 
Thanks for all your work in putting this together Janine.  It is amazing to look back and see what a difference 12 months has made.  Today we are up to 1361 followers!

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

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  1. The Clements

    Love all your quilts but must say the first one on this page with the windmill and kangaroo's blew me away, so beautiful , keep up the fantastic work 🙂

  2. donna

    Jan-Maree I am so excited for you. You are doing a good thing with a warm heart. All the quilts are so pretty. You go girl.


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