Grati -Tuesday 13th April 2021

Written by ahq_admin

13 April 2021

HELLO!!!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the week, The winter chills seem to be creeping in for some parts of he country. This is where the quilts will be coming in handy!!!

Here are some very grateful recipients letters of gratitude for their quilts. I do love hearing the reason behind some of the themes chosen.

We hope you enjoy reading through them as much as we did.

….

Dear Deni,
Thank you so much for putting the time and effort into my Quilt and Laundry Bag. The way it was designed is perfect!
I grew up on the South Coast of NSW with my Mum, Dad and Sister. I have always been around the ocean and aeroplanes from a young age. The way you managed to get the ocean colours into the design was not short of perfect! I love surfing and I love flying. My Dad was in the RAAF back in the 70’s and I have always wanted to be a RAAF Pilot.
After year 12 I did an apprenticeship in aircraft and helicopter maintenance and I worked on aircraft for almost 10 years. I flew very regularly and even did a 2 week trip around Australia with 2 Helicopters. When we landed at RAAF Base  in WA I saw all the aircraft parked on the flightline and decided now was the perfect moment to join the RAAF.
I was accepted in 2016 and completed my Officer training. I was then posted while waiting for pilots training to commence. I stayed at that post for 5 months then moved to Regional NSW for ADF BFTS (Basic Flight Training School) for 7 Months. I flew at regional NSW and loved my time there. Following this I continued training at 2FTS (2 Flight Training School) Advanced Pilot Training and eventually my Wings in 2018. I was flying the PC9 trainer while there.
Following Wings I was posted back to my previous post and have been flying the Wedgetail ever since.
I am lucky enough to be one of the Pilots at my latest post in NSW. I fly the E-7A Wedgetail and I have been on this jet for a little over 2 years now. This was my first deployment to the Middle East. With COVID restrictions in place we were confined to our camp or the Aircraft when we were flying so I never managed to see the surroundings. The weather was extremely hot during the days as expect with temps reaching into the 50 degree mark on some days of Summer.
Our aircraft has a huge surfboard style RADAR on the roof so this suited me very well! We fly long missions and use our RADAR to look long distances and give information to our friends on things that they can’t see as well. We also talk to other aircraft and tell them where to fly and what tasks to do while they are near us. We are like a mini flying Air Traffic Control centre in the sky. It can get very busy at times but it is a great job.
I was lucky enough to be on the last flight of the Wedgetail over a Middle eastern region and I took your quilt onboard for that flight. I have attached some photos of me holding it outside the window of the jet for you!
I live in NSW with my fiancée. I am enjoying my time up in this area and we both are having a good time at work. I was lucky to have some good friends and familiar faces with me overseas but a deployment can be a very isolated and lonely time. Your effort into this gifts is beyond a highlight of the trip and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I hope you get a kick out of the photos attached.
Thank you so much again for everything you have done for me and my mates,
Kind regards,

….

Hello Anne,
Thank you so much for the beautiful quilt and laundry bag. I received both parcels. 
I began drafting a response that afternoon and then let work get in the way. I finally got around to finishing my letter tonight and hope it finds you well. I have a day off tomorrow and am looking forward to a sleep in. It has been a very big month and have spent the first week of February catching up.
I really enjoyed your letter, and it brought a smile to my face to read. It served as a nice reminder of home and things to look forward to back in Australia, like visiting Spotlight, oh and family haha! I took inspiration from your letter.
Regards.

….

Hello Anne,
Greetings from the Middle East, it is Winter here now and has been very short lived. For approximately 2-3 weeks the temperature would drop as low as 8, which is not that cold but after acclimatising to 35+ it has felt very cold. The quilt has arrived at a great time and serves as an extra layer for my bed to keep me warm at night.
I have noticed the mail lacks consistency and packages arrive in all sorts of time frames but given the circumstances back home, I understand the wait time. Thank you for making the effort to send them separate, it turns out they arrived on the same incoming flight and the Christmas rush would account for that.
The laundry bag looks great! And yes, the boxing kangaroo has such amazing detail, I am impressed at how detailed embroidery can be. I love how colourful the bag is and I can see my team eyeing off my bag with a little envy as I showed it off after unpacking it. It will certainly stand out in the laundry and be easy to find the machine I used. The quilt box got delivered to me a few hours later because the posties sorted incorrectly and I think the range of fabric you selected is very lovely. The little gumnut fairy is a nice touch and very cute.
I only know of Aussie Hero Quilts because of the people who have deployed previously. I like hearing about all the positive ways people like to give their time and it is a bonus when you love doing it and allows you to have that creative outlet. Who doesn’t love Spotlight 🙂
Bit about myself, I recently turned 34, and this feels almost like a birthday gift having received the laundry bag and quilt the same week. I like to keep busy and love getting stuck into creative projects. My father was a tiler and I started mosaics as a teenager using left over ceramic tiles and created all sorts of wonderful murals and pots for my mothers garden. Now I work with glass, stone, ceramics and anything I can get my hands on that I think will look good.
I enjoy hiking, riding, motorbikes and in the water any chance I can get. I used to volunteer as an animal welfare carer for both wildlife and at the pound, but recently I changed and started volunteering for Legacy as a Legatee. 
I am posted as a Crew Attendant. The SQN is the business jet fleet and we fly VIP missions for high ranking military and government members. It keeps me busy and what seems like a fancy façade, behind those closed doors is hard work, long days, and lots of time away from home. This is a very rewarding career so far with too many highlights to name in the last 4 years I have been doing it. My deployment comes as an opportunity to have a go at something outside of my normal job role and expand my experiences. 
I work as an Immigration Officer in the ADF on my deployment. All members arriving and departing the base come through me and the team I work with. We work on our camp and visit the Host Nation counterparts both on base and off on a regular basis. It allows for many wonderful and challenging experiences. I have tried so many delicious foods and drinks.
I have a partner back in ACT and Christmas celebrations were tough this year because he was restricted to the ACT and could not visit his family, but he is keeping busy rebuilding a café racer motorbike. I am home in a few months and we cannot wait to have a month off together, ride our motorbikes and catch up with both our family and friends. Christmas and New Years here was incredibly fun and inclusive, it brings everyone together and makes being away from home a little easier.
A big thank you for your time and effort into the laundry bag and quilt. They will have a special place in my home for many years to come and will always be a good conversation starter and I will get to show them off with pride.
Sincerely,
….
Good Evening Jan-Maree and Clarissa,
I trust you are both going well and Jan-Maree your health is improving.
What a day! While I wasn’t expecting any more groups coming through any time soon. I was asked yesterday if I could be there today and we had about 100 Navy and Air Force personnel and they loved the bags. If I could bottle their smiles and ‘infect’ everyone with them, the world would be a much better place!
My wife and I are heading off after church on Sunday for three weeks of leave – we’re going away to see our baby girl and her son. Chaplain, an extraordinary human will be filling in for me. I’ve given him the run of my office. We have just over 100 bags and while we don’t have numbers, should go through them by Mid April. So contra to my previous emails, please keep them coming, but the hundred I have means there’s no urgency. 
I feel a little guilt taking some time away, but am so looking forward to what we wanted to be an annual honeymoon away from it all. 
God bless you both, your families and the whole Aussie Heroes team. I am so privileged and blessed to have got to know you. You’re far more precious than you probably realise.
Thank you as always for everything.
….
Dear Chris,
Thank you so much for the wonderful laundry bags you’ve sent through. I have about 100 Navy and Air Force who are joining the task force today, and I’m sure all the footy bags will go, with the possible exception of Collingwood!!? 
Your laundry bags (all four parcels) have arrived. I keep the postage bags and boxes so I have checked all four bags from you have arrived. Thank you so much. We don’t really know ahead of time how may are coming through, so only found out yesterday about the hundred who are here today. Thanks to you, and so many others, no-one will miss out.
I was deeply touched by the quilt I was given and then laundry bag with my beloved Carlton on it. The task of Chaplain really is a blessing in the Australian Army and I have been especially blessed in my role working with young Soldiers as well as bush fire assist and COVID. We can only hope and pray the vaccination process brings an end to COVID worldwide by the end of the year.
Thank you so much for all the bags you’ve so faithfully sent to me – I have a ball as I put them in small piles along the front tables and allows the boys and girls to come and choose one that suits them. Their faces light up like my grandchildren’s do at Christmas!
I pray you and your family are well and we’ll soon be able to get back to the new ‘normal’ soon. I thank you and all our Aussie Heroes men and women – if it wasn’t for COVID, I wouldn’t have had such wonderful contact with such a terrific, generous and selfless group of people.
Thanks again and God bless you.
….
Hello JM and AHQ team,
  I can still remember him saying, “bloody beautiful, I’m cold put it over me”, when he saw the quilt.  
Here is a photo of the quilt hanging in the stair well of his sons home.  It looks stunning and in a perfect position to show it off to everyone visiting.
Thought you might like to hear about this most appreciated Aussie Hero Quilt.
….
Hi Susan,
I am a lucky recipient of one of your beautiful laundry bags.
I am an Air Force Officer currently assigned on COVID Assist. Whilst I am not far from my family or in the Middle East, I hope in some small way my participation helps keep Australian’s safe. As a mother of 3 beautiful girls, aged, 13,6 and 3, their health, happiness and safety is my first thought on waking and my last on going to bed. I like to think we all play a part in that for all in this country as this pandemic plays out.
On seeing your laundry bag, I knew that my Pop was somehow sending me a message through you as it’s maker. I often think of him when I complete fitness testing or have a hard day and push through to make him proud. My pop was a Sergeant in Army and posted to Asia with my Nan and children in tow. He was too young for WW2 and discharged before Vietnam. The Malayan Emergency was quite dangerous at the time though my Nan has very fond memories despite the coups and being on lockdown often on base there. My nan grew up alone in a convent after her mother passed at 5 years of age, and she surrounded herself with babies. She says that the years my pop was in the Army were her best, despite being away from him quite often.
My Pop was a man who loved native birds and flora – this is what adorns the front on my laundry bag. The fact that the bag is marbled purple with a yellow COVID Assist logo (my favourite colours) just cements this. This bag was meant for me and I cannot thank you enough. Thinking of my pop and what he would say to me or think of me in uniform gives me big emotions. He passed in 2007 when I was pregnant with my eldest. I’ve always felt he’s been with me since. Now I know for sure.
Thank you for making our members such beautiful bags and giving us both morale and a piece from home. 
Warmest Regards.
….
Good Morning Ruth (well it’s morning here),
Firstly, thank you so very much for your amazing laundry bag. it’s so special to me and reminds me of my 3 girls back at home in ACT – I chose their favourite colours.
I deeply appreciate all your hard work and love how the colours came together – to be honest, I was a bit concerned they might clash but seeing it now I can say it looks perfect. What you and your team do is absolutely fantastic, and I am sure every single person who is lucky enough to receive one from you and your fellow quilt and laundry bag makers is eternally grateful. I have seen many friends post theirs after they return on social networks, saying how much these mean to them.
Having such a reminder from home cannot be understated, in it’s meaning – I’ve now been away from my family for just over 2 months. We’d normally be given a return trip home for 2 weeks about halfway but unfortunately due to COVID we can’t do this at all. So instead I’ll call them when I can, and have your laundry bag remind me when I can’t.
For background on what we do, I work 12 hour watches (3 on, 3 off) coordinating multinational Navy boarding’s on drug running fishing boats to seize the narcotics they transport across the region. Drugs that often pay for slavery, weapons and internal regional wars; these drugs then make their way around the world – often even to Australia.
So the work is very rewarding, but the cost of missing my family is huge, so again – thank you so very very much for the work and care that you have put into what I can assure you is a very much loved reminder of home that I will treasure forever.
Bless you.
….
Hi Beverley,
Thank you so much for my quilt and laundry bag which arrived yesterday. They’re absolutely exquisite. You’ve encapsulated all my suggested themes, and I’m in complete awe of your skills – both the practical work of producing the patchwork and then your sheer imagination. I’m going to find a space on a wall to hang the quilt on when I get home; and I’ll use the laundry bag for it’s intended purpose (which seems a shame as it’s a minor work of art too!).
Thank you for sharing a little about you too. I’m the first doctor in the family (in memory) and similarly the first family member to served, certainly in two generations (my grandfather had a reserved occupation for WWII and my father was just too young). Incidentally, my mother was a primary teacher but put her career on hold to raise the three of us. I grew up in Scotland, then trained and worked in UK, where I met my wife. I was keen to join the RN at school and in the cadets, but in those days you had to choose between General Practice and General Surgery in third year undergraduate medicine, but I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. We moved for GP training, but by the end of it we had two young children and weren’t too sure that we wanted to settle down so we opted for a job in Australia for a year. We began in South Australia. A year became three, and two children, became three. We became avid campers. In the end our eldest was due to start primary school so we decided to give the UK another go.
A five year plan kept on extending, and that’s where I had my ‘proper career’ for 20+ years. On the basis of being the main bread-winner, and never quite sure about where we were going to finally settle, I had a reasonable CV by the end of it, but it entailed long hours and hard work. Suddenly, our family grew up and became independent, and there was neither the need to work quite so hard, nor the responsibility to guarantee them support; so we took their example of gap years, and opted for a change. We cleared all the hurdles for permanent residency, I retired and we migrated to Queensland in 2014. 
It meant I could rekindle my adolescent interest in the Navy, and I enlisted as a Reserve in 2016. Even as a Reserve, I’ve spent most of my time in uniform since. I’ve worked at a number of locations and deployed on OP Resolute and exercised on board a variety of ships. I’ve done a number of spells of full time service, including a staff-type job in ACT and then as an Aviation Medical officer last year.
Clearly 2021 has been spent in the Middle East so far, but when I get back, the current plan is to swap across to Permanent Force with a promotion and another spell in ACT. 
My family have all grown up – my eldest daughter is married and in Victoria – a construction project manager. My eldest son has just moved to Queensland with his wife and their young daughter. He’s something like a ‘risk consultant’ which I can only just understand. My youngest is still back in UK and a mate on a tug. Bizarrely, he was the one born in Australia, but chose not to take up permanent residency. We’re close as a family, and had taken for granted the ability to fly back and forth at least once a year, so COVID has been a shock, even with Skype and so on.
My wife was a public health nurse in the UK, but didn’t transfer her registration. Instead she volunteers. I’ll retire properly in no more than a couple of years, then our plan is to get an off-road camper. My wife has never been enthusiastic about the swag I persuaded her to try. Health permitting we’ll travel Australia, as well as fit in some overseas exploring. We know Europe quite well, so would like to visit some Asian countries.
Thank you again for the fabulous quilt and laundry bag – I was moved that a stranger should spend so much time and effort on creating something so beautiful for someone just doing their job. It’s an honour to serve a country I love and defend values I hold dear.
P.S there’s a card in the post, but you’ll see that my handwriting lives up to the stereotype of my profession.
Best wishes.
….
G’day Lyn,
I just wanted to write you a quick email to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the amazing quilt I have received from you. You obviously spent a great deal of time on it and enjoy doing it, you did an amazing job. Whilst we certainly don’t serve in the ADF to seek praise or receive accolades, it is a comfort to know that the people back home appreciate what we are doing here.
I am looking forward to getting home. If everything goes to plan, I should be home soon. I live in Tasmania. I am in the Army Reserve now, after having served almost 14 years full time. I have been with the Police since I left full time Army in 2014. This is my 7th overseas deployment with ADF and I think I can say with some confidence that it will be my last (although I’ve said that a few time now).
Anyway, thanks again for the time and effort you put into making my quilt. I will treasure it as a small token of my gratitude, the folks back home have for the hard work that the men and women of the ADF do in the  service of our country.

Kind Regards. 
….
G’day Bridget,
Yesterday I received the quilt you made for me. I wanted to write to you and send you a thank you for the effort you put in to send me such a great memento of my service here.
I am very grateful for your support and feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to serve our nation.
My best wishes to you and the ‘Garage Girls’. I hope you have a safe and happy Easter.
Warm Regards
.….
Dear Melissa,
Thank you very much for the laundry bag. It’s perfect! Yes there is a story but you guessed it straight away. I was using Coles and Woolworths bags over here as a laundry bag, but they kept getting thrown out. 
I had no idea about Aussie Hero Quilts. I think it is a wonderful idea and all the soldiers here are very appreciative of the efforts that go into making them.
You and your family sound like you are quite busy. My family is currently living in NSW. My son is 2 and my daughter is now 9 months, they have grown so much since I left. I can’t wait to get home and be with them again. I have deployed twice before but I can say it is a lot different having a family back home.
The doggies are playing well to start the season, looks like a great year of footy ahead. Premiers 2021 is looking good.
Thank you and all the best.
Regards!
….
Good Morning Veronica,
I have received my quilt and laundry bag. They are both lovely. This quilt is on my bed now and has brightened up my little room immensely.
Can you please pass my sincere thanks to onto ‘The Garage Girls’, Sheena, Bridget and Marianne.
Marianne wrote me a lovely handwritten letter which was so thoughtful. If you could let her know I would have loved to have written her back via letter also, except the mail to and from our deployment takes a very long time, that’s why I’ve opted for this email.
Again, thanks so much for all you do for us deployed Servicemen and Women, it brings such joy to us to receive these lovely gifts.
Have a wonderful day.

….
Good Afternoon Sue,
I recently received through Aussie Hero Quilts your pineapple blanket. I just wanted to take the time to thank you for your work and tell you how beautiful the blanket is.
Working in the Navy I spend a lot of the year away from my family, and often are unable to contact them. It can be hard but I am touched by the thoughtfulness of people like yourself.
Thank you again.
….
G’day Ruth,
Thank you so much for your gift, I love my new laundry bag and it will come with me on all future journeys!
We really do appreciate gifts like this and a reminder that our country is behind us.
Kindest Regards.
….
We do hope that you enjoyed these amazing letters. 

Till next week
Happy Sewing!!!

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