Grati -Tuesday 16th November 2021

Written by ahq_admin

16 November 2021


      We do hope that everyone’s week has started of well. The sun is shining where I am!   
                          Here is this weeks wonderful collection of gratitude letters. 

It is always amazing to hear how grateful everyone is to receive an Aussie Hero quilt or laundry bag but I especially love hearing the stories behind the requests. There is always a reason someone has asked for the theme on their quilt and that is what makes it so                                                   personal and meaningful to them.    

         Anyway, enough from me. Sit back and enjoy this weeks Gratitude Blog!!!                                                                 ….

Dear Jan,

Thank you so much for presenting to us the other week, via Zoom, at DFCC.

What a wonderful gift. The Aussie Quilts Laundry Bag arrived in the mail yesterday. It is such a wonderful and powerful ministry and gives one a real sense of being valued and appreciated. I would like to keep it in view in my office in our RAAF Base Chaplaincy Centre, not only as a personal memento, but as a reminder for your service and ministry to our people training in their respective ATECH and AVTECH trades for Tri-Service aviation support and future deployments.

When far from home and family, I can understand more now how valuable such a gift will be for our frontline Defence personnel and what it will mean for them.

I remember reading Albert Facey’s Fortunate Life account of how much it meant to him to receive a pair of socks knitted by a girl in WA whilst in the trenches at Gallipoli in 1915. After surviving the campaign and a further campaign in Egypt and on the Western Front, he later returned and found her. I think they married.

Thank you for your inspiration and innovation. May you be blessed and return to full health.

Let’s pray for each other in our respective ministries.

United in prayer and service of our nation.

                                                                             ….

Good Morning Jenny,

I am just emailing to say thank you very much for my quilt. It is very me, and I absolutely love all of the blues and the orcas on it. I was lucky enough to see orcas when I lived overseas, and they were so majestic and stunning to watch.

I am glad that you and your husband both love making and packaging the quilts and laundry bags, as it brightens our days when we need it.

Thank you so much

Kind Regards

                                                                              ….

Hello Heather,

I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful creation. When I opened the package to find your quilt, I could not wipe the smile from my face! Both my wife and daughters were amazed and could not help but notice my absolute joy. It is perfect and will be with me for quite a long time. It captures everything I could have imagined and I have already used it while away for work.

My parents live in Queensland. It’s a place my family love to visit on holidays. Such a relaxing environment. I miss the humid summers and Jacaranda trees. We have a few here in NSW. Those and Frangipani trees have always reminded me of home. My wife and daughters live a few hours from me and I try to get back most weekends. One daughter is in year 12 so was best I move and travel back. No disruption for her schooling – even though COVID had other ideas!

I love sailing. It’s something I have taken up later in life. Always wanted to do and an opportunity presented itself so I jumped right in. My wife is a Kiwi so it’s in her blood. A very close family friend of hers sails competitively all over the world and competes every year in Sydney to Hobart. I used to swim also during my school years, but the early mornings didn’t agree with me. 

Well I hope this email does find you well and again, thank you so very much for your wonderful creation. I cannot express how grateful I am. It will go everywhere work or life may take me. It is people like you and your community of volunteers that remind those deployed of the importance of being human and humble.

Kind Regards

                                                                               ….

Good Afternoon Jacqui,

I had the pleasure of receiving your lovely handmade quilt this afternoon. 

I love it! Thank you very much for what you and many others do for us at Aussie Hero Quilts. These gestures are greatly appreciated and brighten everyone’s day / week / deployment when we see them unraveled for the first time around the ship. 

I am a bit of a sports nut and love all footy codes. I blame my father for that one.

It kept me occupied at home in ACT growing up.

My parents were getting right into the grey nomad phase right as COVID hit last year. They’ve largely stuck to visiting rural areas where possible.

I hope restrictions have started to ease your way in time for the spring sunshine and incoming warmer weather. I am a sucker for an afternoon stroll on the beach. 

All the best and take care. Once again, thank you for the lovely work.

Many thanks

                                                                           ….

Good Afternoon Kerry,

I am emailing you to say thank you so much for the quilt you created for me. It left me speechless. It was beautiful and just perfect.

We were told to write down what we wanted and the only thing I could think of was home. The way you designed my quilt was bang on the money. It was exactly what I envisioned and more.

I am so grateful for the effort you went to and the minor details in it. My favourite thing about it are the different coloured tiles. It’s just so earthy and has all the colours of WA. I love the wine bottle (for Margaret River), the Whale Shark (for Ningaloo Reef), just everything about it reminded me about all the amazing memories and I can’t help but smile when I look at this quilt – you did this Kerry.

The day I got the parcel everyone else had received parcels from their families, and I hadn’t. So I was very grateful to have something to open. I cannot express how beautiful it is. My bunk buddy actually asked to swap quilts with me.

This one was a ship wide favourite.

Thank you so much. The trip has been really hard because of our restrictions and small things like this are what really matters because it’s the things that make us happy.

I appreciate the letter along with the quilt. I am so thankful you chose to make mine.

The world needs more people like you.

Thank you

                                                                        ….

Hi there Ellen,

I am the lucky recipient of your Thor laundry bag. Thank you for making it.

I am an Air Traffic Controller from ACT posted in NSW for 2 years. I have been in the Air Force for 20 years and have a 6 year old son. Sadly, we lost my wife, his mum, to cancer, three years ago. We had a great time together before that. 3 weeks ago, I was sent to Operation COVID Assist. 

The Padre walked in with the laundry bags at our induction, but there were only 30 in a room of 100 people, so they were snapped up very quickly. Since then, I have been wrapping up my dirty clothes in my button up shirt to make a bundle and take them to the laundry. So I am super happy to get this one when it popped up. So the bag is with me while I live on base. 

Sorry it didn’t make it’s way somewhere more exotic. I have been deployed to Pacific Islands and Middle East in the last 15 years. Each time I would use my shirt or camping bag. So this one is my bag now and will stick with me on whatever trips I have from now on. 

All the best with your travels and thanks for sewing for Aussie Hero Quilts.

Kind Regards.

                                                                        ….

Just a quick message to all of you at Aussie Hero Headquarters,

Thank you! You are doing a fantastic job and make the participation of making for Aussie Hero Quilts so easy for us.

Really appreciate it.

                                                                        ….

Shared to Facebook:

‘Warning: long post with all the feels ahead..’

So this arrived in the mail today. It’s a laundry bag, made by one of the extraordinary army of volunteers at Aussie Hero Quilts (AHQ) who design and create quilts/laundry bags for ADF personnel on deployment. Despite having deployed a number of times over the years, I deliberately never requested one; I always felt I was ‘just doing my job’. Which is pretty much how I still feel, most of time.

Recently, the amazing AHQ team extended their generosity to personnel serving in Australia, in support of domestic and overseas operations. At the time, I’d just come out of the most emotionally harrowing and rewarding month of my career supporting HQJOC in the Middle East evacuation efforts. A bit player in the grand scheme of things but we’d spend each day thinking ‘How do we do more? How can we help more?’.

My little team did amazing work in support of this – a small cog in a mighty machine, and for the first time in a long time I actually felt worthy of asking for a laundry bag. And boy, did volunteer Toni deliver – a vibrant, joyous design with a 2 page heartfelt letter. Suffice to say I’ve gone through a lot of tissues this arvo..

Life in uniform is by turns interesting, mundane, stressful, challenging, enjoyable… but rarely joyous. Toni gave me a bit of that today and reminded me why I joined this outfit in the first place. All from a humble bag designed to hold your sweaty DPNUs…

Thank you AHQ, thank you Toni.. you rock!

                                                                          ….

Shared via Facebook:

Good Morning AHQ&LBs,

Just wanted to say a huge thank you, for the quilt you made for me. I am extremely grateful.

  ….

Good Morning Anne,

Firstly, I have to say how thankful and grateful I am to have received the quilt from yourself. The colours, details and quality are amazing. It is a wonderful product and both my wife and I were taken aback by how good the quilt has turned out.

You guessed correctly with regard to my location, and the quilt arrived whilst I was in quarantine in Australia, but my wife left it for me to open upon my return home.

This was my first overseas deployment with the ADF and I was amazed at how well the Australian service personnel are looked after and supported whilst overseas by organisations such as Aussie Hero Quilts. I felt humbled at the level of support the Australian public give to the ADF personnel deployed on Operations, so thank you! 

It was an extremely interesting time for me whilst deployed, not only did we manage the final ADF troop withdrawal after 20 years, but we also had to coordinate the emergency evacuation of thousands of middle eastern nationals and their families from a dire situation. Something I feel very proud to have been a part of, being able to give those families and especially their children a start on the path of a new life, living with freedom and without fear.

A little about myself, which will help explain the details on the quilt.

I am indeed a Welshman (hence the Welsh Dragon) coming from a small coastal ton. I served in the UK Royal Air Force for many years which is where I met my now wife. She is the Scottish connection. It is my wife’s fault that I am now a Glasgow Rangers Football Club fan, hence the predominant GRFC logo and the background blue colour. The words ‘simply the best’ are from the Tina Turner song the club adopted a few years ago and is especially apt this year as 2021 was the record breaking year for GRFC; They won the Scottish Football League title again, for the 55th time in the leagues history and also did it in 2021 undefeated, both these achievements set world records. The poppies are expected for Remembrance. For the friends and colleagues we have lost along our military careers and also for all those service men, women and animals that have fallen in conflict all over the world.

After moving around the UK with the RAF to many locations, we decided it was time for a change. We both independently, prior to the meeting each other, harboured a desire to move to Australia, so when the timing was right, we made the decision and came across under the Lateral Transfer process to fill gaps in the ADF.

We only came to Australia 5 years ago, and we love it here. It offers us the lifestyle and the weather that we craved not having in the UK.

We are both sports made with GRFC being my wife’s primary passion (mine by default), she is an ex female footballer too. We also follow the Moto GP (being Valentino Rossi fans) and have our own motorbikes. We surf quite a lot, which is a lot warmer to do here than the chilly waters of the UK.

I used to play soccer and rugby union in the UK, but have given them both up due to the extended recovery times it takes after each game as you get older. Since coming to Australia, we have somehow also become Rugby league fans and follow the Raiders as we used to go and watch them regularly when in ACT. We do cheer for the knights too. However, we still have no idea about Aussie Rules Footy, it doesn’t seem to make much sense to us…

Once again, thank you so much Anne, for my Aussie Hero Quilts, it has been received with much gratitude for your personal effort and also the organisation you represent.

Have a great day, stay safe and well.

Best wishes.

                    ….

Dear Sue,

I want to first thank you so much for the beautiful quilt you have made me. It has made my small room here in the Middle East so much homier and warm, it really puts a smile on my face every time I see it.

Thank you for also telling me your story.

I have heard Australia is getting hit hard with the COVID cases rising. I hope you are all safe and not too affected by the lock down.

Keep doing what you are doin, because it’s the little things like this that make us proud to do what we do.

Kind Regards

                    ….

Good Afternoon Jenny,

Thank you very much for the quilt. I received your parcel via helicopter transfer from another Australian ship today.

After spending majority of the year away from Australia and currently approaching mid point of our second deployment for the year, receiving a parcel from home is such a nice feeling. 

I am glad to hear that your family is well and coping with the current restrictions at home.

A little about me; I joined the Navy at 19, and since then have bounced from ship to ship. Originally being posted to NSW and only in 2020 making the move to Western Australia. I was born and raised in Queensland, where mum, dad and my little brother still live. 

Since joining the Navy, I have been lucky enough to travel and explore a lot of countries that I would never have visited on my own accord. Deployments since COVID are a little less exciting with us being unable to leave the ship, however, swimming pools on the flight deck allow us some normality and time for respite. I am approaching the 6 year mark and honestly love the job and could not imagine doing anything else. This year HMAS ANZAC has been all over the news and social media with the rescue of the Indonesian fisherman off the west coast of Australia and other achievements. Currently, it is quite warm up here and your quilt is the perfect thickness to be able to sleep with, without getting too hot. The fact that you have been able to design a quilt with so many puppies is actually amazing. I have always wanted a puppy, however with this schedule it just isn’t meant to be.

I invite you to follow ANZAC’s journey on our Facebook page knowing your quilt is on board for all the pictures and activities we conduct.

Thank you again.

                    ….

Hello Marilyn,

I am an Able Seaman in the Royal Australian Navy.

I am currently deployed on Operation COVID Assist and the Padre gave out some of the laundry bags (or dhoby bags as we call them in the Navy), and I have received your letter that was in the bag.

First, let me say thank you for the beautiful laundry bag, it is very kind thing for you to make for others.

The thing I love most is the pictures of the cats all over it, and I love cats.

I had a cat, she was a British shorthair, just like the one in Alice in Wonderland. 

I haven’t been in the Navy for too long, but I love serving the country and have a long career ahead.

My family here in NSW is my wife of 12 years, and I have an older sister here as well. Lots of other family members in the ACT and up in Queensland.

I hope COVID gets under control, and we can live like we did before.

Thank you again for the bag and the letter it is much appreciated.

                    ….

Hi Jenny,

Just a quick message of thanks for the lovely laundry bag you made and that accompanied me to Northern Territory in 2020-21. Actually, it went further than that. Initially, it found it’s way to the laundry in NT, then journeyed by sea all the way to South Pacific and back here in NT. Not once did it get sea sick unlike some of it’s travelling companions. 

Then it had another sea trip up to Torres Strait and back to NT. And then it’s final trip to Western Australia in a C17.

Thanks for taking the time to make it and to acknowledge the work of the men and women of the ADF. It’s these small gestures that make the work so much more bearable and fun.

Thanks again, and all the best for the future.

Regards.

                    ….

Good Afternoon AHQ,

Recently, whilst navigating COVID lockdowns in Victoria, we presented Major, recently returned from the Middle East, with his personalised RAEME themed quilt, and thanked him for his service at home and abroad.

Major was very grateful and buoyed by the efforts of AHQ’s wonderful volunteers, especially over these trying times in Australia and for our servicemen and women overseas. He asked us to pass on his gratitude.

Once again, thanks for all you do.

Warmest.

                    ….

Hi Margaret,

I’m writing to say thank you as I received one of your laundry bags.

I went to NSW on Operation COVID Assist, where we joined NSW Police on conducting isolation compliance and welfare checks, distributed food donations and were a presence at vaccination hubs. I am currently back in ACT. I have now completed two lots of quarantine.

The bags were handed out on our day 1 briefings. There was a bit of a rush to obtain one as he (CHAP) said there weren’t enough for all.

With little time, I picked the one with nice patterns and also tractors. I spent time as a teenager driving them on a neighbouring farm.

Thank you and all from AHQ for going to the effort and expense of providing these colourful crafts and thank you for also sharing your story.

                    ….

Dear Sue,

Thank you so much for the wonderful quilt. It really added some nostalgia and colour to my bare room. 

                    ….

Good Afternoon Rose and Family,

I have received the quilt you have made for me. To receive your quilt has been heart warming to me and has made my trip.

I can’t wait to use it.

Please stay safe.

Kind Regards,

                    ….

Good Morning Pam,

I am delighted to let you know that I have received my laundry bag from Pennie.

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

The laundry bag is fantastic, and I’m sure will bring a smile to my face for many years.

I can’t wait to see the quilt.

Kind Regards

                    ….

Good Morning Anne,

It’s so very nice to meet you. I was lucky enough to receive your laundry bag, whilst I was on Operation COVID Assist in NSW.

I’ll start off introducing myself. I am 20 years old and a member of the Royal Australian Air Force. I enlisted last year and work within our Logistics / Supply mustering. I finished my job training earlier this year and am posted in NSW. Within 5 weeks of arriving, I found myself getting sent to assist with quarantine hotels as a driver, so many trips back and forth to the airport. I’m originally from and grew up in South Australia.

As to why your laundry bag stood out, being from a country town, the gum leaves on the bag do remind me of home and how I hope to be able to return to see my family for Christmas, if we can get out of lockdown. One main reason for me enlisting was knowing that I can make a difference and support our country. My older brother has also been in the RAAF for 11 years so ever since I was young, I’ve seen him grow as a person and what good it can do for a young person. I’ll never forget my first ANZAC Day and realising how much more there is to that day than a Public Holiday. I was lucky enough to march and talk and drink with many veterans afterwards, it’s a great way of showing thanks to them and hope I can inspire generations to come as they’ve done to me.

I can’t wait to do more exploring as my career progresses too! I’m hoping for an overseas posting at some point to Asia, as we have a base there, we’re so lucky to have so many opportunities. I really want to explore Europe since I have lots of heritage over there. 

I know how tough it is to study and work. I used to work 12+ hour days before I enlisted. I’m also studying a Diploma at TAFE and hope to study a degree one day too, since I was always tossing up between Uni and enlisting. 

Back at home, Mum and Dad have a Labrador, she’s beautiful and the best natured dog. I am looking forward to the day where I have a bigger house where I can get a dog, my place right now is only big enough for a little dog and I’d prefer a medium-large sized dog. I miss mum’s cooking being away from home.

Again, thank you very much for your kind gesture and what you do for us, and showing your support. I hope this email finds you well in these troubled times and that your family stay safe from COVID.

Thank you Anne.

                    ….

Hi Bev,

I wanted to say thank you for the quilt that you and your husband Geoff made for me, which I recently received. It’s perfect, I love it.

It makes my room feel nice and homely here, and was just the morale booster I needed. I know I speak for many when I say your time and effort is so very much appreciated by the men and women who receive the quilts.

I hope you are staying safe and well in Australia.

Kind Regards

                    ….

Hi Shirley,

Thank you for the beautiful quilt. 

My son who loves dinosaurs particularly loves it and calls it ‘special daddy blanket’. 

This tour was very hard on my son, and he missed his dad more than we ever could have realised, so you have made us smile again.

Thank you for your incredible generosity. 

Stay safe in these crazy times of COVID.

Kindest Regards.

                    ….

Dear Sue-Ellen,

Thank you for all the time and effort you’ve spent in making Aussie Hero Quilts. When I received the package I was very excited to open it, when I did, the first thing I saw was the anime picture from the anime series Naruto, which I was ecstatic to see, as it is a personal favourite of mine.

When I had gotten it out fully, I saw my daughter’s names on the quilt, and at that point I got very emotional. I am very much a family man. I love spending time with my family and to see my daughter’s names on the quilt brought me a lot of emotions which I wasn’t expecting.

I can’t wait to get the quilt home, it will be treasured within or family and treated with care. I’m glad to hear in your letter that the community behind making these quits are doing well. These quilts definitely bring so much joy to the serving men and women.

This is my first time being deployed with the Army. I can’t imagine doing it multiple times throughout his career due to all the time spent away from family, it definitely takes a very strong and disciplined mind set to accomplish it.

It is tough at times but very rewarding. I’m enjoying my first deployment with the Army, and it is fantastic to hear that Defence personnel are admired and appreciated. I grew up in Western Australia and always wanted to join the Army at some point in my life, since I was a kid in High School.

I’ve always had a very positive view of the Army due to the ANZAC spirit and the feeling of Remembrance, I would always get on ANZAC day. I am very privileged and proud of being an Australian Soldier. I love our country’s work ethic and values and to me, being in the Army has been an incredible adventure with plenty of fun memories that will remain with me always.

I am extremely thankful for the support you provide to the ADF. This quilt will always be something that ties me back to time spent here in the Middle East. I received your letter just at the right time when I was missing my family most. You have reminded me of the amazing support that the ADF has within the community which brings a smile to my face.

Thank you again for everything. I hope this letter finds you well and that you and your family have many blessings over the years to come. 

The work you do is appreciated and held in the highest of regards.

Yours faithfully.

                         …. 

Thank you all again for another wonderful week of happiness! 

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