As we all know, 2020 was a year that many of us would rather forget for obvious reasons, but in among the unpleasant memories, Aussie Heroes has plenty of good memories too.  Two great memories include two very special presentations.

As you may rememeber, the bravery of ORD SMN II Edward “Teddy” Sheean was finally recognised with a Victoria Cross. On 1 December members of his family attended Government House in Canberra to receive the Victoria Cross Medal on his behalf.  The next day the family presented the Medal to the Australian War Memorial.  Whilst they were in Canberra, The Chief of Navy (CN) presented the family with a Fallen Warrior Quilt to honour Ord SMN Sheean.


The Warrant Officer of the Navy and the Chief of Navy examining the Fallen Warrior Quilt. 



The quilt was presented to Lyn who was joined by current serving LS Madson Mitchell and LS Morgan Mitchell family  of Teddy Sheean, VC.


I am told the extended family present were grateful for such significant recognition of Teddy’s service. CN asked Lyn if the family can share the quilt and I am sure Madson or Morgan will seize the opportunity to take it to sea in the near future in one of our Navy ships.”
…….
A few days later, at a Dining In for the 120th Anniversary of the Sydney University Regiment (SUR), Chaplain Bruce Hammonds presented the Governor General (GG) with an Aussie Hero laundry bag.  As I have met the GG on a number of occasions I took the opportunity to make his bag myself.


As you know, many of our bags are personalised and of course, it was no different for the Governor General.  The Rising Sun, SUR badge and coat of arms are self-explanatory as are his initials and the letters GG.  The strip of waratah fabric is to recognize his service as the Governor of NSW.  I am told that the GG is very fond of the Pipe Band of the SUR so I chose the tartan they wear, the Campbell of Argyle tartan, as the basis for the bag.  Additionally I included the silhouette of a piper although this piper is not one of the SUR pipers, but the background of this piper is rather special.

The photo my silhouette was based on was taken by Army Photographer Jake Sims, when he was on deployment in Iraq in 2016.  The piper in the photo was one of the guardian angels who took his bagpipes on deployment to play for others to help raise morale. Jake captured a fabulous photo of him at sunset one night. At the time, we made the soldier his own laundry bag, featuring his own silhouette proudly on the front.  

 

Chaplain Hammonds was kind enough to share with us the speech he gave as he presented the GG with his bag.

“Your Excellency, Mrs Hurley, ladies and gentlemen,

2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenge. For most of us two world wars and a great depression were the stories our grandparents told us about.

But if this year has taught us anything, it’s the reality of how fragile we truly are.

We ended last year with bushfires with so many communities devastated. Then COVID-19 has devastated the whole world with 1.6 million deaths worldwide and the number is growing.

This time last year the ADF was deployed for Operation Bushfire Assist and did an amazing job of supporting Aussie communities. Then COVID-19 led the three services to respond with port and airport, hotel and border security and our men and women have done an almost faultless job and we have every reason to be proud of their efforts.

When Operation COVID Assist was launched in March, Jan-Maree Ball, the founder of Aussie Heroes and her team of ladies offered to make laundry bags for our soldiers, sailors and air men and women. Every bag comes with the love and gratitude of the ladies and I’ve had the privilege just in NSW of handing out over 3,000 bags.

As we close 2020, on this 120th year of SUR, Jan-Maree has made a bag especially to honour you, General Hurley and it comes with the love and gratitude of Aussie Heroes. I ask you to accept this bag, which along with every one of the laundry bags I’ve been privileged to give out, comes with love and gratitude.”



A few days later I received this letter…


I am sure you will agree that these two occasions are great memories from what was not always the best year.  Let’s hope that 2021 provides more opportunities to make happy memories both for Aussie Heroes and for all of us personally. 

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

Jan-Maree xx 

 

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