Grati -Tuesday 14th December 2021

Written by ahq_admin

14 December 2021

Hi Friends,

I am back after a whirlwind trip to Victoria! It was so great to be there, meeting colleagues, spending time with friends and generally being able to be in another state visiting and celebrating. It still feels a little surreal but so great to be home!

What’s happening in your world?

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From the Facebook Page:

Hi AHQ,

I just wanted to give a shout out to those involved with the making of this quilt. It was made for a Doctor who is leaving the Navy. I am just over the moon on the level of detail on it. I already knew the Semaphore was his name but he has today upon receiving it said the other flags are the three sailing boats he sails and that the silhouette of the Black Mountain Tower, is cause he grew up in ACT.

We realised someone who knows him well has made this one and we all at the Health Centre want to thank all involved in making such a sentimental quilt for him.

All of the medical staff who have received quilts from you have been over the moon and it’s done lots for boosting morale after such a busy 18 months.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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Hi Clarissa,

Thank you so much for my amazing laundry bag; it is the talk of the office. We really do appreciate the time and thought that goes into your creations and I can confirm that they are well used with our communal laundries popping with their colourful designs most days.

I am part of the RASIGS Corps. It will be 18 years of service for me next year, and for better or worse this is only my second deployment. The first was also to AMAB back in 2016, so it feels very familiar to me this time around.

The highlight of this trip has been the support we were able to provide to the evacuees. I helped to run one of the camps established to accommodate them while they waited for their flight to Australia. People were literally arriving with nothing but the clothes on their back and it was great to have the opportunity to get to know them, hear their stories and do our best to make them feel comfortable and safe.

Back home, I live by myself in Victoria and only a short drive to work. I don’t have a partner or kids of my own, but I do have two beautiful nieces who live in Queensland. Usually, I would visit two or three times a year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions and this deployment, it has been a while since my last visit. They are both still toddlers; 3 and 4 years old. I can tell by talking with them, that they are growing so fast and I think it will be a shock to see how big they are when I do finally visit.

When I return to Australia I will be packing up my life in Victoria, and posting to my new role in ACT. I have visited multiple times with work but it will be the first time I have lived there and I’m looking forward to exploring the city and surrounding areas.

In my spare time I enjoy camping and snowboarding, so in a lot of ways ACT ill be the perfect place for me to enjoy my hobbies. My other, and most expensive hobby is collecting/consuming single malt whiskey and while there is limited opportunity to partake while deployed, I have been acquiring quite a line-up to enjoy when I return home.

My parents are starting to take more time to enjoy the grandchildren. My father retired last year, after more than 40 years running his own hairdressing salon. The only problem is some of his customers didn’t get the memo, and he is still doing haircuts from home quite regularly. My mother, is still working part time in a government role and depending on the week, is either ready to retire now or has a few more years left to top up the super.

Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to create these amazing laundry bags and quilts for us while we are deployed. Reading your letter, it is not lost on me that you are living a very full life. The time you commit to Aussie Hero Quilts, is time you could spend with your family or in the pursuit of other hobbies, and I appreciate that, instead you chose to make me an amazing laundry bag.

Kind Regards.

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Hi Thelma,

I thought the quilt would have been wasted on one of the spare beds, so it has been given pride of place on the living room wall.

Thank you again for delivering it to me, and as I said the other day it really was a marvelous surprise.

Cheers.

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Good Evening Aussie Hero Quilts,

My quilt and laundry bag arrived tonight. It’s amazing! Gayle did an outstanding job and I absolutely love it.

Thank you so much for what you are doing, it truly means a lot.

Kind Regards

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Hi Ellen,

Just letting you know your beautiful quilt and laundry bag arrived for my husband.

You will be happy to know, he saw it on messenger as we talk daily. He is preparing for his transit home soon. He asked me to open the parcel. We will send a photo once he gets home.

He just clocked over 41 continuous years service in the Army. He joined at 17. He was assigned into RAACorp and has gone through the ranks from diggers through to RSM Army Ceremony in 2010 to 2012. He did 29 of the 42 Ramp Ceremonies of the soldiers that were killed in action. He was part of Interfet in 1999 and received an OAM. He received a CSM for his time as RSM Army Ceremony, but crossed over to be an officer after 31 years.

He is a private person and will be so touched by your beautiful work.

Thank you for the beautiful quilt.

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Hello Lisa,

It has been a few years since I last contacted and a little over 5 years since you crafted my wonderful work of art quilt.

I was in and out of hospital for a few months in 2019 and your quilt accompanied me.

I am in hospital now for a right knee Total Knee Replacement. Your quilt was the first thing I packed.

I still love it as much today as the day I received it 5 years ago.

I hope you and your family are coping well and didn’t go too stir crazy during the lockdowns. We had a few months of lockdown in NSW, and I think the wheelie bins went out further than we did.

Anyways, take care and thanks for my amazing quilt.

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Hello Beverley,

It has taken me a while to get to write this letter, simply because I was overwhelmed and having a hard time expressing how this beautiful gift has helped me smile everyday and your motto of make the most of every day has resonated with me during my time deployed.

Your beautiful handy work brightens up the drab space and reminds me so much of the lovely garden back home. I’m so very grateful to you for taking your time to make this special gift and to your friend for passing on this wonderful fabric – you were spot on, it’s perfect.

So please accept my gratitude and thanks for brightening up my days and now that your efforts are making a difference.

Best wishes.

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Dear Cath,

Many many apologies for this incredibly late response to your letter and gift of the designer laundry bag. I am very sorry. Well over two years after first receiving your gift and letter! Oh dear. Well, better late than never I suppose. My intention, had always been to reply but somehow the letter was lost in a pile of paper and every time I looked at the dhoby bag I would think “I must respond to the kind lady who made this”. Well today, while trying to organise things such as big piles of paper, I came across your letter, re-read it with joy, and now am finally sending you a reply.

Thank you for telling me about yourself. While I wouldn’t call myself a dog person. I am over time, becoming more accustomed to their presence and am finding myself appreciating them as pets. I didn’t grow up in a pet household and so it’s all a little foreign to me, however my girlfriend has two dogs (one some kind of border collie and the other some kind of Rhodesian ridgeback with something else in there) and I’m finding myself becoming more and more attached.

A little about myself; I am 39 years old, and grew up in NSW. How does a boy like me, end up in the Puss? Well, in my early twenties, I moved to attend university, studying Civil Engineering. On completion of those studies, I began my theological training and after ordination ministered in the area. The presence of HMAS nearby meant the Navy was a logical choice when I commissioned in 2019. There’s a lot more to the story but that is the simple explanation.

I understand the need to do adventurous and dangerous things too. In my spare time, I do a lot of rock climbing to make up for some of my more sedentary lifestyle tasks. I’ve only had a couple of accidents over the years and I still keep coming back to it. Guess, I’ll never learn.

I am currently on leave from active service. The reasons are professional and personal (no scandals, just life), but late last year it was necessary to take some time out. After initial training, I was sent where new recruits are trained and most of the initial employment training for the sailors as well. While there I was responsible for the part of the ship where the techo trainees completed their IET. It was the largest part of the ship with about 1000 trainees and staff, and is probably the biggest cohort of souls a single chaplain is assigned in the RAN. The trainees are also the most work. Stokers – Marine Technicians (Mechanics, Fabricators, Electricians) are notoriously rowdy and troublesome. Additionally, they have a long time between recruitment and being out in the fleet of about two years and so loose motivation, while their boatswain mates have only 6 months total training. Greenies – Electrical Technicians (Electricians) are nearly as bad but are quite intelligent which almost makes it worse.

Even though it was a busy job at time, I really enjoyed my work with the trainees. Having been originally a carpenter in an earlier life, I really fitted in with the trade environment. I think I made a difference but you can never be sure. Last year, we didn’t avoid the long lockdown and that put a lot of strain on the system. Rules about what could and could not occur onboard even though all the trainees effectively live in the same house, in basically big dorms.

As I mentioned, at the end of last year, I had to post out for a number of reasons. One being the lifestyle. In 2019, when posted, I would get to come home every 6 or so weeks. It was quite manageable. However, the extra restrictions placed on ADF personnel during COVID meant not just the lockdown time but a whole lot of extra restrictions including interstate travel and even travel to the regions to go climbing. I completed my time without issue but I needed time out. It’s so very strange because it was a problem I didn’t anticipate. I’ve done some very hard things in my life, physically, psychologically, spiritually, but this one caught me off guard. I guess I need people around me more than I thought. Being at sea can be hard, but at least you’re all in it together.

Once things are sorted I hope to return to active service sometime next year and it looks like a sea posting which brings it’s own challenges but also rewards.

My next project is my own house, which I am just about to start on a vacant black of land. For the past 10 months I’ve been living mostly out of my van. It will be nice to have a home of my own especially with the housing market as it is.

As for the dhoby bag – it is an amazing creation. I do love that you have put a lot of thought into the symbols and not just made something fancy. I love symbolism and deeper meaning in things. I shall with the information of your letter see so much more every time I look at it.

Your support and work is valued. The Defence of our nation is not only the job of those in the ADF but every citizen in their support. I am a big believer in the power of prayerful intentions, which have a much greater effect than the material task or item at hand. Your efforts to support ADF personnel through these items and letters for some reason remind me of the gospel of the women giving all she had and therefore gave more than anyone else (Mk 12:41-44). Your gift and work is appreciated. Thank you

Yours Aye

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Good Morning to the lovely people at Aussie Hero Quilts,

I am a Junior Sailor of the Royal Australian Navy. This message is to express my gratitude for the work you continue to do in support of the men and women serving the Australian Defence Force.

I joined the RAN in 2021 and despite the effects of COVID has had upon the world, have had countless memorable experiences and have had the chance to proudly serve our country.

I served on HMAS Ballarat during a deployment that last five months. This was a five months in COVID environment and was perhaps the most difficult and challenging times of my life. It was during this time that I and all the men and women of Ballarat learnt to appreciate the small parts of our lives that helps us to wake up every morning and continue doing our duty to the best of our ability.

Through the generous support of the AHQ community, we were supplied with high-quality and gorgeously designed laundry bags, which helped the entire crew sort and manage their laundry during the deployment. This is one of the examples of a small piece of generosity that helped us to keep our operational tempo during the deployment.

For that, I thank each and every member of the Aussie Hero Quilt Community for their outstanding work and devotion to those serving the Australian Military. Your efforts are not unnoticed, and the knowledge that you are behind us every step of the voyage is heartening beyond measure.

All the best.

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Good Afternoon Pam,

I am happy to let you know that I have received my quilt from Heather.

While I will be writing a letter to Heather to thank her, could you please pass on my thanks in the short term.

The quilt is fantastic, and I am sure it will bring a smile to my face for many years.

Kind Regards.

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Thank you so very much for the gift of a Fallen Warrior Quilt. Alex delivered this to my home last week, and I find it hard to express the feeling that my Eddy actually managed to anyone except his family.

Eddy was a conscript Vietnam Veteran and served in 1RAR. He took part in the Battle of Coral as a member of D Company IRAR.

When the Unit Citation for Gallantry was awarded and he received his little oblong green badge with the Gold Star his only comment was “but I was only a Nasho”.

It meant so much to me to receive this quilt honouring “my nasho” and I ask that you pass my heartfelt thanks onto Lynn, Philomena, Clarissa, Alex and of course yourself Jan-Maree for this gift”.

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Hi Shirley,

Thank you so much for my beautiful quilt, I really appreciate it and the hard work that went into it and the stitching detail is simply incredible. It now lives on the couch in the living room and everyone admires it when they visit.

Thank you for sharing with me the stories about your family. I love gardening. I recently moved out of a tiny two bedroom apartment in NSW which I had been living in for the past three years so have acquired a lot of indoor plants including succulents. On the weekends, I used to move all the plants out to the balcony for some sunlight and the rainbow lorikeets would come and visit. I have just moved back down to Victoria and very excited to have a proper backyard with a garden again.

I don’t have any children of my own yet, but I have 5 gorgeous nieces and nephews in Victoria, who keep me on my toes

A little about me; I am 27 years old and the oldest of three children. I am a huge animal lover and grew up in Victoria with two cats, a dog, a rabbit and a cockatiel. I enlisted as a medic in the Navy in 2016.

I was deployed on DDG HMAS Hobart III for the past two years and in 2020, we sailed to Asia and USA over a four month deployment. COVID made things very tricky as we were not allowed to leave the ship at all during the 116 days at sea. We managed to keep ourselves occupied through the barbeques, movies and sport on the flight deck – we even brought along some inflatable pools.

I have recently posted to Cerebus prior to returning to full-time study next year where I will be completing my Doctor of Medicine. Dad still lives nearby, so it will be nice to move closer again.

I am currently engaged with my wedding in a few months (rescheduled twice due to COVID). My fiancé is from Victoria and he loves to bake (specialty is vanilla slice and yo-yos). We are very excited to finally celebrate with our friends and family.

Again, thank you so much for the beautiful quilt.

Thank you

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Good Morning Ellen,

I have just received your beautiful laundry bag. I wanted to send you a big thank you for it and your letter, it was amazing to hear a little bit about your background.

I am currently posted to HMAS Stirling however I am country Victorian originally. My jobs official title is a Maritime Personnel Operator however a lot of people just call us ‘writers’ or ‘clerks’ in Army terms.

I have been in the Navy for nearly 3 years now and in the span of being posted out of our training have already been to Queensland, Northern Territory and NSW and now Western Australia, but definitely ready to get home and see the family.

Before joining I used to travel as much as possible to places all around, and am waiting for the right opportunity to get out and explore different places again! I would love to see as much as possible.

I hope you and your family are well with the current COVID situation and looking forward to Christmas.

Thank you again, for sending your laundry bag.

Kind Regards

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Good Afternoon Team,

I have just received my bag and quilt, the mail here has been terrible lately, thank you so much to the families that took the time to stitch, sew and mend things to get them out to not just me but my whole team.

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Sheena and Philomena,

Firstly, can I just thank you for your time and effort in creating such an immaculate quilt. This came to me at a crucial time. I had been on deployment for quite a while and was at a point where I began to feel quite tired and found myself thinking of Australia often.

When I received your letter, it truly made my week and gave me the boost of energy I needed. It is humbling to know Australians like yourself are conducting such a service and makes me proud to serve.

I am very much looking forward to seeing my family, four sisters and one brother in WA. As you can probably tell, I do enjoy Australian nature and wildlife.

Thanks again for your service and kindness. Best of luck to you and your family.

Warmest Regards

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Dear Kathy,

I am writing to express my sincere thanks for the beautiful quilt you so kindly crafted for me.

I recently returned from deployment and was delighted to find my quilt and laundry bag waiting for me. Such a lovely surprise to welcome me home.

I love the bright colours (red dirt from the outback) and dragonflies (tropical Darwin) – linking my childhood and adult homes together.

It’s extra special to know the quilt comes with a nursing and an outback connection. I did my nursing training in South Australia then posted to Northern Territory, which is now my permanent home.

My family still live in SA. I grew up as a daughter of a miner. Would you believe my mum is an artist who was part of the Living Desert Sculptures project & Brushman of the Bush.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your wonderful creative talents to allow me to bring “home” with me wherever I find myself in the world. It’s the small things that often make the biggest differences on difficult days.

Please pass on my best wishes to your family. I trust they are all safe and well during these challenging COVID times.

Warmest Regards

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Good Afternoon,

I just wanted to thank you. My husband has received my quilt on my behalf to our home in NSW (as I am currently deployed). I am very excited to eventually be home and see it in person but wanted to thank you and the volunteer. They look divine.

Kind Regards.

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Hi Toni,

Thanks so much for the laundry bag! I absolutely love it, you have done an incredible job. It is such an unique skill and I am so incredibly thankful.

I am so scared to use it as a laundry bag, because it looks so good. I bit the bullet yesterday and started loading it up! It will be able to showcase it in the laundry in no time.

The creative skill and the uniqueness of Aussie Heroes is amazing. I see other peoples’ and marvel at the amount of fabrics and styles that you have come up with. It’s great to hear you enjoy the activity. I definitely feel lucky to have gone on this deployment to be able to earn one, rather than spend a lot of time away at sea.

I hope you have a safe and Merry Christmas. Thanks for all you do for Aussie Heroes.

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Good Evening Gayle,

Thank you so much for the amazing quilt and laundry bag that you made for me. I absolutely love them, the superheroes were a nice touch.

It was lovely to get your letter and hear your news. COVID-19 has definitely changed all of our life styles over the past year or so, but fingers crossed things start to return to normal.

We have a caravan and have been lucky enough to go on a few holidays within Queensland. The latest adventure was in the September school holidays – we did 5000kms in two weeks. We are hoping our next trip at Christmas.

You are an amazing lady Gayle, and I truly appreciate the time and effort you have put into make me the quilt, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Take Care

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Good Morning Thelma,

I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for making my quilt from Aussie Heroes.

It’s exactly what I wanted with the bright colours, poppies on it and the weight lifting pictures. A great addition for my home and you are doing great work for all veterans out there.

Best wishes to you for the holiday season.

Much love and kindness.

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Hello Aussie Hero Quilts,

Just wanted to let you know that I received one of the quilts we ordered for the Cerebus Medics yesterday.

I have not given it to the medic yet but just wanted to say these are absolutely beautiful. Thanks so much.

I hope the others will turn up soon as I’m really looking forward to seeing them.

Many, many thanks

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Good Morning ladies,

I am from 1/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers and I wish to thank you all for the thoughtful gift I received on my deployment.

It’s not often that we receive any thanks of feedback for what we do, more so when we are on operations.

It’s hard enough being away from family and loved ones during the time away which is why your laundry bag was such a wonderful gift.

With the greatest respect.

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Good Morning Janice,

I wanted to write briefly and thank you for sending over the laundry bags recently. They arrived a couple of days ago after some delays in our mail system, and have been distributed to smiling and enthusiastic troops here. It is a significant blessing for them to know that someone one back home in Australia is thinking of them, especially at a time when the world is still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19.

You have been a vital part of the values we have as Australian’s. Thank you.

Many blessings going into Christmas and a brand new year.

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Dear Bridget,

I am the recipient of one of your amazing Aussie Hero Quilts. Firstly, I would like to express my sincerest thanks for your time and effort in creating this beautiful quilt. It is everything I could have hoped for being a sports fanatic.

A little about myself; I am currently on my third deployment with the Army and my first here to AMAB. I have been in the Army now 13 years and I am in my fourth year at the Rank of Sergeant. I am based in Queensland where I live with my fiancé and three children. I use the term loosely as they are getting to be adults. My oldest son is 16, and I have two daughters aged 14 and 10. They are your typical teenagers never out of their room and thinking they are well above their ages.

This is technically my third trade in my lifetime as prior to joining the Defence I was a furniture upholster and after I got bored with that, I turned my attention to auto electrics. I used to have an interesting job working for state Police creating their fleet of cars including their highway patrol cars. My job there was adding all the electronic devices they now use against me when I’m home in Victoria.

My fiancé is the venue manager of the local hotel and these days it keeps her extremely busy but I don’t think she has noticed yet, but I have been gone over 2 months as I write this. We grew up in the same neighbourhood and went to the same high school. We weren’t quite high school sweethearts as we didn’t like each other. We shared mutual friends and a weekend away changed everything and that was now 20 years ago. I laugh and tell her that you get less for murder, which she normally responds keep that attitude and she will end up finding out haha! We are currently in the early stages of planning our wedding which is set for late 2022. I have proposed the idea of eloping as the international borders open. The idea of a Vegas wedding is stuck in my head, fingers crossed I win my first battle in 20 years.

We have two pets thanks to me controlling my fiancé and the girls. If they had their way, our house would be Dr. DoLittle. We have an American Staffy and a cat. I got to name the cat as a consolation prize because I lost the argument about getting a cat.

In closing, once again, I pass on my heart most thanks to you for your efforts in my quilt. I wish you all the best with your family and your children.

It is and has always been an honour serving our country, be it deployed on operations or assisting back home in Australia. The support of people like yourself and the Aussie Hero Quilt team make it so much easier being away from home for extended periods.

Keep up the amazing work you do – thank you again.

Kindest Regards

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It was with great pride that I accepted on behalf of my late Husband last Friday evening, an Aussie Fallen Hero Quilt.

This magnificent quilt was presented to me by Cathy, who was the most empathetic and genuinely engaged person I have ever met.

We had a wonderful chat and shared stories which have an obvious link with military service.

To the ladies Lynn and Philomena, my sincere thanks for your beautiful work in preparing this quilt. My husband was very ill for many years, and he would be so proud to have seen this. Perhaps he is watching from heaven.

We will keep this with my family always as a reminder of the man we loved and the service he provided to the country he loved.

To Christine, who nominated me for this honour, I thank you sincerely. This has been such a special moment for us.

Warm Regards

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Another week of wonderful notes. Fabulous!

Have a great week!

Alex

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