This week we have reached an amazing milestone.  

30000 laundry bags have been made and sent off to our serving men and women. 

30000!!!

Huge, huge thanks goes to all of the amazing volunteers who have spent countless hours sewing and threading cord.  Your efforts are sincerely appreciated. 

Back in 2011 when we made and sent off the first 15 laundry bags little did we know exactly how Aussie Heroes would grow and what we would go on to achieve. 

Nor could we imagine how much a simple laundry bag would come to mean to our serving members. 

I could wax lyrical about how much I know the laundry bags mean to our serving members but I think it will mean more if you hear from those who have received the bags. 

At very shorty notice I asked a few folk to write me simple words to express what their laundry bag means to them.   These recipients go back as far as 2011 and the very first message is actually from the very first Aussie Hero!

Enjoy!!

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From the very first Aussie Hero…… 

I have loved my AHQ laundry bag and have used it on multiple deployments. To be able to walk into the laundry room and see your bag sticking out amongst all the plain white, green and string bags is awesome. They were all made by strangers for strangers and represent the love and support of a grateful population. They are a little bit of Australia in lands far away. Thank you AHQ and congratulations on such a fantastic milestone

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I received my laundry bag whilst I was terribly homesick and on deployment – it was covered in love hearts. It reminded me of all those who loved me and the reasons why I was doing what I was doing. Some may say ‘it’s just a laundry bag’, but to me it was a consistent reminder of the things I cared the most about in this world – even if it only happened once a week on my trip to the laundry 😊🙏

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I received my laundry bag in 2014 whilst on  deployment to the Middle East. Since then  it has been a constant travelling companion. It is always in my suitcase and I always know where my laundry is.

My LB is a reminder everytime I use it, how wonderful the Australian spirit is, that a complete stranger took the time to make something so personal for me.

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Nothing compares to receiving something from home when you are deployed away from your loved ones. AHQ laundry bags are always prized possessions and are a source of much discussion as designs are compared and shared. It’s the first thing that goes in my bag when I’m heading to sea or on deployment overseas.

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Well that is amazing congratulations to you and all the people who makes the LB and quilts. When I received my LB and quilt it was just the best feeling. I had made sure that all the people that I worked with had received one. It made my day something that was made for me from someone who I don’t know, someone who cared that we were away from our loved ones. It was a gift that I know I will always treasure. One that I have used many times. I am and always will be forever grateful for the time and effort and the care that was taken to make us feel that we are loved.

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 Congratulations to Aussie Hero Quilts on achieving the amazing milestone of 30000 Laundry bags. I have been on two separate ship deployments to the Middle East Region in recent years and I have been fortunate enough to have received two of these wonderful handmade bags. The only thing I enjoyed more was to see the difference these bags made when given to the hundreds of shipmates I served with during my deployments. To hear the various stories of the quilters who freely give of their time and resources in an effort to help the sailors, soldiers and airmen and women of the ADF whilst deployed away from their loved ones, is a privilege. Thank you for everything you do.

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 Dear AHQ Crew, a big congratulations to all! What an amazing achievement.

 I understand so much time, effort and money goes into these, but I hope you understand that it means so much to us.

 For example, my LB, has a name. He is named Frank. Frank is part of the family, so much so even my 5yr old has referred to him as part of the family.

 This little piece of awesomeness means more then I can express, and I have no doubt LBs have had the same effect on so many people.

 Seriously, the effect of having this bag, ready to travel with me to god knows where or for how long, having him there to vent to (he doesn’t talk back or tell me to shut up), and taking him on outings to the laundry where he takes pride and place and puts others to shame.


He has helped break the ice overseas and helped me make friends. He has held onto my socks and other unmentionables, but more importantly he has reminded me of home. And on some particularly rotten days reminded me there are good people in this world.

Wonderful people.

 Thank you all, big congratulations again.

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 I received a laundry bag in 2010 whilst serving in Afghanistan with SOTG. The care and thought that had been put into it was amazing, and I’m still using it to this day. It meant so much to know that people back home were doing things like that for us.

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to look at my laundry bag everyday hanging at the end of my tiny bunk brought me such joy. Colourful and most importantly, containing several days of submarine washing (eeew) it brought joy to the start of my day. To then go below and see rows of colourful bags hanging and smiles these brought to the crew’s faces was priceless. That deployment there was a noticeable difference in how the accommodation spaces looked and smelled.  Thank you AHQ and all the hardworking people who sew for them

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 When I got my laundry bag whilst deployed to Iraq in 2015, it was memorable day and since then it has gone everywhere with me. It has been on deployments, exercises, training courses, trips to hospital, my honeymoon, at the birth of my daughter and has been across Australia and the world. I can’t imagine travelling anywhere without it.

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 I love my LB, it brought a smile to my face everyday when I was deployed to Iraq. I am grateful for the love and support from the lovely volunteers of the Aussie Hero Quilts.

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I have two laundry bags, one made by my wife, an AHQ volunteer and the other by my Mother In-law, also one of the volunteers. The laundry bags were great in that you knew which machine your clothes were in. It brought colour and individuality to the laundry room. It was great to see the different patterns on other bags as well. It is something from home and made with love that can be used over and over again.

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The laundry bag that I received from Jan Maree and her team was used relentlessly in Afghanistan by me and every time I used it it made me think of the ocean my family and the fact that people actually cared about us being so many thousand miles from home. It helped beyond words.

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Well the laundry bag I received was a shock at first due to it being custom tailored to myself complete with my initials and still something I use today for work trips away. I value mine as it is a reminder each time I use it because I remember the day I opened my care package in my room while on deployment and how jealous my room mates were haha ………

 I remember the moment that I received my laundry bag from Jan-Maree. It was an unexpected gift from an extraordinary group of people. The love and care that went into this wonderful gift was tremendous. It’s a reminder that you’re not alone and that there are good people in this world.

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The AHQ laundry bags are a great combination of the practical and the personal. They are made with all the same love and care as the quilts and so give the same smiles and joy and are a great reminder of home. Usually adorned with names, Aussie flags or native animals they are very effective at sparking conversations with your international colleagues (and countering other’s claims on said laundry bag!).

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To have been a recipient of a LB is akin to having been invited into a special club (like getting a secret decoder ring 😁).

 Sure, we serve, we sacrifice, we do what is asked, often without complaint or second thought. Our reasons for serving are our own and that in itself gives us a special sense of belonging. But to be presented with a coveted LB made with love and skill, often from those we never see, as a thank you for what we do – it amplifies  our pride and our gratitude.

  Knowing that we are, in fact, appreciated by our country and an army of quilters for what we do and have done, it is a special reminder, a badge of honour made especially for us. xx …….

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 “ The laundry bags made by the heroes at Aussie Hero Quilts, are really special to us members that deployed to all parts of the globe. They give us a little bit of home in sometimes really desolate places. It’s great to know that there are people back home really thinking of us.

 They also make it really easy to find our laundry amongst the many washers and dryers being used, but being so recognisable, they are also an admired commodity. Seeing the different styles come across really makes you envious of others bags, but the one we receive still holds a special place in everybody’s heart. “ 

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The laundry bag to me added colour, personality and joy to my deployment! It became a talking point whenever the coalition partners saw it and was the envy of everyone doing laundry! It brought a sense of normality and care to an environment that was in great need of both! Thanks Aussie Hero Quilts (and laundry bags)

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 My LB has a few of my favourite things – dachshunds and Antarctica – which reminds of me of the love and care that went into making it. I took it sailing on HMAS Canberra in 2018 and my clothes always came back safe and sound – I was the envy of everyone who saw it! I’m so glad that 30000 soldiers, sailors and airwomen/airmen have got a LB because it’s a wonderful feeling to be appreciated and recognised.

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To know that someone cared about me and with great love taken the time to make me such a personal gift lifted my spirits at a time when I really needed to feel that someone cared. I’ll never forget and will always be grateful

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Having a LB that is unique, that is your own in a place where there is so much same-ness, makes it a little bit special. Being able to walk into a room with multiple washing machines and dryers and instantly find your machine, makes life a lifeless easier. But it is the colour and uniqueness that makes them special.

My LB was bright shining light against an otherwise dull and sandy backdrop. A reminder of my favourite things and a proud nation supporting me from home.

Congrats JM! You and the team continue to inspire me with your amazing selfless efforts everyday x

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I still have mine, I use it when travelling. Even though I’m no longer serving it still gives me the warm fuzzies when I think about it. Reminds me of my other family, good times, good friends and the dedication of people like Jan-Maree and her Army of nimble fingers. Well done all of you an accomplishment to be very proud off

Regards the “Postmistress”  (for those who do not know, our “Postmistress was one of the first to receive a LB in the Sinai in 2012…)

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On deployment everything is camouflage and military then your laundry bag reminds you that you are an individual that is loved and cherished

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I received my laundry bag when I was part of the Australian Invictus team. I had medically discharged from the ADF several years prior and felt pretty ashamed resentful of my service. Receiving the laundry bag felt like recognition for the service I gave and the sacrifices I made along the way despite my career being cut short by injury. Such a small thing made all the difference to me.

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“Receiving a personalised laundry bag from Aussie Hero Quilts definitely made me feel valued. It is the first thing I pack whenever I go away and then I am reminded of that feeling” – Katrina

30000 laundry bags – congratulations, that is so many

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Amazing achievement!

Everybody looked forward to receiving their personalised laundry bag. Walking into the communal laundries and seeing all the unique laundry bags always made me smile, knowing people back in Australia were thinking of us and went to so much effort to make the personalised LBS and do their best to give the person what they requested. The colour brought so much happiness to a drab environment and people proudly showed them off at every chance. I took great pride in my LB making sure it was folded neatly on top of the washing machine or dryer so the design could be seen. The LBs mean so much to those deployed and are cherished long after we all return home.

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AHQ-LB …. I was asked what does that mean to me !!!! …… and to be honest it’s not something that should rattle you , but on reflection you begin to feel the enormity of it . It’s the fact that complete strangers have taken the time to gather material , they’ve sat at their sewing machine / computer and actually thought about what an individual has requested to make them feel a little bit like they have ‘home’ with them . You don’t know them, they don’t know you , but you are both connected by  something that a lot of people take for granted either some place to hold your washing or a cover to fend off the night chills . It’s extremely reassuring to see LBs hanging in your mess at sea , it gives you a sense of pride that you are a member of a club , that the Australian public have included you in .


Some LB hanging throughout the messes of HMAS Brisbane  11/02/21

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Its hard to describe adequately what it is like to receive one of the Aussie Hero laundry bags. Imagine being away from home, in my case into my 4th month of 7, deployed at sea, with limited contact back to Australia. Then you get a parcel in the mail, opening it to see this amazing laundry bag themed to what you had requested, made by someone back in Australia who you don’t even know. Its then you feel valued for your contribution to Australia’s security and know that you have the support of the community back home. Mine still has pride of place in my home and has provided comfort during a recent hospital stay. Thank you Jan-Maree and all the team from Aussie Hero Quilts..and Sue who made my lovely quilt.

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For someone that endeavours to do PT twice a day whilst deployed, that equals a lot of laundry and regular visits to the laundry drop off point. Having a ‘one of a kind’ laundry bag made for me by Aussie Hero Quilts not only made me feel special, but made my laundry bag stand out. Meaning, I could spend more time exercising and less time searching for my laundry bag. Congratulations on the 30000 laundry bag milestone, you have made many a soldier, sailor and airman feel loved and your efforts are appreciated more than you could ever know.

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Overseas its the little things in life that make your day. For me it was the colours in my laundry bag. It didn’t conform to Army colours, it was bright and vibrant and every time i looked at it made me smile. And i was lucky enough to get three of them 🤣

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Whilst deployed away from family and friends, we carry many totems of what reminds us of home. It may be a sneaky morale patch underneath the uniform, or a stuffed toy kangaroo in our pockets. The most envied of all is an Aussie Hero Quilt laundry bag. We carry these out doing laundry with a huge grin on our faces, and more than happy to show off these personalised designs to any poor soul who got too curious. The laundry bag for me is more than just a piece of home, it is a welcoming reminder of the love and support from Australia.

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FROM ONE OF THE FIRST CHAPLAINS TO RECEIVE A LB

Good morning. Congratulations on your 30,000th laundry bag. WOW! Nearly ten years on and I’m still using mine. I remember you asking me what my hobbies were or what did I like doing, and I replied, ‘I love going out Saturday mornings and having coffee with my wife.’ Lo and behold a coffee-bean themed laundry bag turned up for me. Every time I used it over there it reminded me of my wife and that one day I would be home and our coffee dates would start again. It is still used regularly, only this time it reminds me of my time in the Middle East, of my coffee dates at Aileen’s, ‘Bean-around-the-MEAO’, and of the many significant chats I had with people and of the friends I made. Thanks to you and Aussie Hero Quilts for the memories.

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Receiving a LB from AHQ made me realise that there were ordinary Aussies that knew what we were doing, and appreciated it. Getting a package from AHQ became a rite of passage on your first deployment. In the years since it’s always easy to spot when on course or exercise whether someone has their LB handy – ever ready, always useful.

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Army deployments take place in largely colourless environments, on top of that the kit that you are issued is olive drab at best or colourless (so you can label it in purely regimental style). Everything in your day to day life is exactly the same as the soldier next to you. So a laundry bag of colour and designed to the taste of the recipient is a treasured item. A one off laundry bag is never to be lost in the sea of sameness. You may not be around to see the smiles or the morale boost you have given but it reminds us that we are appreciated even when far from home.

30000 is a lot of work well done AHQ you are the best.

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In a foreign place along way from home, there was nothing more comforting than getting a Laundry bag made of my favourite footy team colours. I received mine about 2 months into a 6 month deployment.The laundry bag stayed hanging my room and it kept me company and made me feel a lot closer to home’ Thanks to everyone at AHQ, you all do an amazing job, including my mum who is one of the quilters.

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FROM ONE OF THE VERY FIRST LBS RECD IN 2012

I received one of the originals before they were requested and tailor made for individuals tastes and interests. While I love that now people get to request specifics, what I love about my LB is that it was made with so much thought and love and time by someone for a recipient they knew nothing about other than they were far from home. The generosity and love that the AHQ sewers have is indescribable. The comfort of such effort cannot be put into words when you are so far from home and normal.

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I received a fantastic Laundry-Bag from one of the super talented quilters at Aussie Hero Quilts back in October 2019, whilst deployed to Kabul on OP HIGHROAD. The lovely lady who put time (and love) into my quilt and laundry bag happened to be the spouse of one of the organisers of the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride; a motorbike riding charity event that raises money and awareness for Men’s Mental Health and Prostate Cancer charities, and which I have supported and participated in. Receiving a laundry-bag and quilt whose design captures the essence of a charity that I have a close connection with, makes them all the more valuable to me. I cherish these gifts and am so grateful to Susan, the talented quilter from Queensland who made them for me. Jan-Maree and the Aussie Hero Quilts quilter are just amazing. Thank-you for what you do for deployed service personnel, veterans and their families. ❤️

 

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For many of us, the quilts and laundry bags from Jan-Maree and team were the only touch of character or colour that adorned our rooms while deployed. Not necessarily because we didn’t have other precious items, but because each one was so unique, so personalised, and filled us with so much pride. I don’t know a single recipient over the years who doesn’t still proudly display their Aussie Hero gifts, and I am lucky to be one of them.

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Whilst serving in HMAS Darwin on her final deployment before Decommissioning, the crew including myself were privileged to receive laundry bags from Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags. The laundry bags reminded the Ship’s Company that whilst deployed to South East Asia, they were remembered back home in Australia. Having deployed a number of times since too many places around the world, I have always taken my laundry bag with me to remind me of not only the special time of Darwin’s last deployment, but also that no matter how far away, or how different the time-zone we are remembered back home.

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I am fortunate to have two laundry bags, one which is used for while at sea, very bright and beautiful and very easy to see amongst all the other laundry bags that AHQ had given us on HMAS Canberra. It certainly stands out amongst all the grey. It always puts a smile on my face, when doing such mundane jobs as laundry.

My second laundry bag not as bright, but just as special is my AHQ civilian travel laundry bag as it doesn’t need to fight to standout. This laundry bag has travelled parts of the world with me on my private travels. Whether it be Rome as pictured, or in Tassie visiting mum and dad. Instead of using an old plastic shopping bag. I’m for ever grateful for these bags and when I use them, they always put a smile on my face.


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My LB and the note that came with it made my day and my posting! I never thought something so practical could brighten up my daily routine – just seeing that unicorn hanging on the door. Also, because it reminded me of people like you Jan-Maree, thanks so much for everything you’ve done for women AND men in the service. It was also lovely to hear of LB notes from women who had their children in the service.

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Congratulations on reaching 30000 laundry bags. That is 30000 ADF members that have felt loved and valued as Aussie Heroes. When I was deployed to the Middle East I was so blessed to know that I was not alone and had people back on home soil thinking about me. I received the most amazing Laundry Bag that is on display proudly in my office. It serves as a reminder that even though times can get tough we are never alone. I am such a thankful recipient and know that so so so many of our troops have felt the same compassion and support. Much love back to y’all!

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When you arrive in theatre you are waiting for that first mail to arrive – contact, connection and love from home. This day and age snail mail is not the norm and families and friends don’t quite get why it’s important. It is lonely being deployed and being away from everyone you love. What Aussie Hero Quilts do with ensuring that a laundry bag might be there ready for you or it’s generally your first piece of mail. They are sending love from home, they are showing small acts that make a huge difference. What I loved is that it was a conversation starter – something in common with your comrades because AHQ has ensured the love goes far and wide. I giggle now on the stories shared of themed laundry bags showing some personality of my team. Thank you AHQ – for all the love.

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A laundry bag may not seem like a big deal to most people but, when you are on deployment and separated from loved ones, these little reminders that someone cares takes on more meaning.

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I received a Laundry Bag with a quilt when I was part of the 2018 Invictus Team. I had been following Aussie Hero Quilts and never thought I would have the opportunity to have one presented for myself. No longer serving and having doubt of how valued my service was. Being presented the quilt and LB was the catalyst for how important the Invictus Games were for the whole Defence community, it was very emotional for me receiving something that was made with parts of my life included in the design. I felt some validation as a result of receiving the beautiful gift and I truely value the time, effort and thoughtfulness that went into its creation.

The LB is a great way to take a piece of community support with me when I go away. It is much treasured and I have to keep it out of my children’s reach as I’ve told them to get their own!

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Congrats to the team for the massive achievement!

30,000 bags that no doubt have brought 30,000 smiles (and saved just as many socks from getting lost! haha!)

I received my Aussie Heroes laundry bag and quilt whilst deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan. It was so fantastic to not just receive a parcel with my name on it, but filled with a few treats, a lovely postcard from the couple who made them and best of all, a quilt and a laundry bag that had my name on it!

Something about having something so bright and colourful in the drab of another country was really special! To then see the influx of of other bags in the laundry as other members received theirs was great in some multicoloured washing room extravaganza!

Thank you again Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags

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A laundry bag is like a warm hug from our people back home.  A simple but most touching gesture. Personally crafted, it connects you with the community and the duty you carry out.

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Well here goes, after being in the army for some 28yrs I had deployed to the Solomon’s, spent time in the jungles of Malaysia, did two stints working on patrol boats up north of Darwin and was in awe of the majestic mountains around Tarrin Kot in Afghanistan, it was not until I worked in Dubai that I actually received a quilt and bag, to my amazement the trouble the maker had gone too to provide someone they had never met and didn’t know was overwhelming. I can never show enough gratitude to the husband and wife team that created the masterpiece I received. To say I was humbled would be an understatement, this quilt and the laundry bag is a symbol that the ordinary Australian does care about our service men and women who put their lives on the line and spend months away from home in hostile countries can add up. When you have spent this long in the service of your country it is like the cherry on the cake for a job well done, I remain this country’s humble and obedient servant.

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To say I was excited to get my LB and quilt was an understatement. When it arrived I couldn’t wait to open the box. It was just the best thing when you’re away from home, loved ones, mates, pets and all things familiar. Hearing one of my boys say he would wrap his first born in his quilt was enough to bring a tear to anyone’s eye. To be able to say that I have gone on to become friends with Jan-Maree is just another absolute side benefit.

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Receiving a lovingly, home-made laundry bag whilst I was on deployment made me feel honoured and humbled that people out there, who didn’t know me, where thinking about me and valued the service we were providing. The quilter had incorporated all my favourite things into the fabrics and my Mum had even got involved adding personal touches! 7 years on and the laundry bag still has regular pride of place.

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I am the proud recipient of a LB that was made for me by JM herself. This bag has a lot of meaning as it has some very personal touches added to it. It uses some pieces of old uniforms of mine from a previous deployment to have my nickname on it rather than the standard initials which I love! It also has a massive Wombat on it which is a huge unique part of me that only certain people know about!

But when I show up in a laundry room anywhere around the world, people see my laundry bag emblazoned with a huge Aussie flag and it gives them a smile.

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I received a LB whilst on deployment to AMAB, OP Accordian, in 2014, from Ballarat (I think).

It has now travelled with around Australia and to Ireland and Hawaii. I still use it today when travelling, it’s the first thing I pack.

My LB connects me with community and is comforting knowing I have it with me.

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30K goodness me!

Over the course of my deployment back in 2012, our little laundry underwent a rather spectacular transformation. From tired looking mesh bags and baskets exploding dusty shirts, we saw a growing number of neat and resplendent Aussie Hero laundry bags which rather politely and cheerfully contained the errant socks and undies. These practical bursts of colour with their monograms, Australian animals and prints always put a smile on my face on laundry day

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I received the most stunning quilt and laundry bag whilst serving in the Middle East. Our small Aussie contingent was surrounded by significantly larger numbers from other nations. When the quilt it was a punch of colour and Aussieness that my room and my heart needed. The team who made the quilt somehow (perhaps ESP) able to design and create the perfect quilt for me – based on the very light-on requests I had made. It was wonderful to walk in my room after 14 hour days, every day, and feel that I was in a piece of Australia and ‘home’. Then my beautiful laundry bag arrived; made from a different team. Although designed separately from the quilt, I really got the sense that the maker understood me and designed a beautiful bag.  The bag goes with me all the time now and it gets lots of comments about the colour and design.  I cannot express enough the gratitude I have to everyone who makes these items with so much love and care for those who receive them. What’s more heart-warming, is that these volunteers do so without meeting the receivers. Some volunteers don’t provide a way to receive a ‘thanks’ back – so to all of you, THANK YOU!

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My quilt and laundry bag was a surprise,  my wife organised both without me knowing about it.  I’d been away for about half way though my seven month deployment to Afghanistan and it was a great pick-me-up when I was suffering the mid-deployment blues. Wallabies, Waratahs & The Phantom; my wife knows me only too well. The wonderful lady who made my Lb & quilt had traveled through Afghanistan in the 70’s, so it was a nice connection that we shared, albeit in far different circumstances.


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AND FINALLY, BEFORE I SIGN OFF… one of our wonderful Army veterans is a very talented  published poet and he has penned this in honour of you who sew for us and the humble laundry bag…

The Humble LB

 

The days belong to groundhog

And the nights become a scene

That feature demons of your doubts,

And the truth of dull routine.

 

But in amongst the cleaning

And the maintenance of self,

There’s an unassuming item

Sitting proudly on a shelf.

 

It came with colours dear to me,

And patterns I had known.

The patches and the letters

Marked the fabric of my home.

 

Although it is a humble cloth,

This laundry bag of note,

It takes away the stains of toil,

And returns a touch of hope.

 

Barham J R Ferguson

11 January 2021


I hope, if you have taken the time to make one or more laundry bags for our troops, that this will leave you in absolutely no doubt that your efforts are definitely appreciated. 

Happy stitching everyone and a huge thank you as well. 

Love, Jan-Maree 

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