Grati -Tuesday 20th July 2021

Written by ahq_admin

20 July 2021

Hello,

Another week from home in Sydney, enjoying sitting in the front yard absorbing some much needed winters’ sun as I prepare this weeks’ blog.

How is your week treating you? I hope you are well, safe and happy. 

Well enough from me, here’s a few wonderful notes to share, so enjoy!

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Hi Sonia,

I am currently deployed on Operation Resolute. We, as Army, do things a little different on this Operation where Navy will do a lot of patrolling, we do a lot of clandestine activities throughout the Oceania.

I wanted to take the time to write you this email, and say a big thank you. I love it! Before I received your laundry bag I had been using a garbage bag so this is awesome to have and use. I am pretty sentimental person so you can be assured I will be using it for any future deployments or courses that take me away from home. It’s definitely something I am grateful for and I will use for the rest of my career.

Thank you for taking the time to make these awesome laundry bags for us, it’s a big morale boost and gives us pride knowing people back home are thinking of us and acknowledge the unique hardships and sacrifices people in the Defence go through. At the end of the day we’re all just people too.

And as soon as I saw the cactus I knew, I needed to have it, myself and work colleagues back home would always tell each other ‘Mate that’s cactus’ so I’m going to have to keep an eye on the bag to make sure it doesn’t go walkabout, it’s going to be hot property once they see it.

Thanks again for making these laundry bags for everyone, they’re great and we all really appreciate it.

Thank you

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From the Facebook Page:

“My husband was so absolutely surprised and very honoured to receive this amazing quilt. Thank you so much for everyone involved.

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Hello Clarissa,

I received my package this week, and I absolutely loved the laundry bag. Thank you so much! The colours and patterns were amazing, and it makes me smile and think of home every time I do my washing now, so thanks again. I think what you and the team do at Aussie Hero Quilts is absolutely incredible, and you really do have a positive impact on everyone that is deployed.

I loved your letter also. Thank you for sharing so much with me. 

A little about me – I am a Logistics Officer in the Air Force and have served for 6 and a half years and counting. This is my first deployment to the Middle East and I am very hopeful to return home by Christmas.

I am 24 and enjoy cooking, hiking, card games, live music and am a very passionate plant mum. I have left my partner (who is also Air Force) and his three beautiful daughters at home in Queensland and am missing them all greatly.

I also enjoy sewing at home – I must admit it has been a couple of years since I have sewn but you have inspired me to pull out my Grandmothers machine and start sewing again when I return home. My partner and I are in the process of building our first home together, so I have now set the goal of making my own cushions for the new house during my post deployment leave.

Again, thank you so much for your package. I am very proud to be deployed and representing Australia.

Kindest Regards.

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Hello Pennie,

Thank you! I received the Adelaide Crows themed laundry bag that you made me last week and I couldn’t be happier!

We’ve been deployed since March and seeing the red, blue and gold was such a lovely reminder of home.

I really appreciate your letter too. Thank you for the laundry bag, it will be with me for years to come.

Kind Regards.

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Hi Ruth,

I just got the lovely laundry bag and it is beyond amazing!

I am a chef in the Royal Australian Navy, and I have currently been serving for 14 years this year. I have a wife and two lovely little boy dogs – a Pug and a Frug (French Bulldog x Pug). My wife’s favourite colour is purple, so I got the ideas so I can think of them the most when I’m away every time I look at the bag.

Thank you so much for the bag, I love it.

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Dear Melissa,

Thank you very much for your hard work on the laundry bag (in Navy terms Dhoby bag). Recieving it and seeing the skill, craftsmanship, and detail you put into it brought a massive smile to me and my shipmates. I know a dhoby bag may seem like a small unimportant thing, but what you have made is an item I am going to cherish for a long time.

A little bout me, I am 22 years old. Originally from NSW, and grew up spending most of my life at the beach doing nippers, when I was young then Surf Life Saving in my high school years as well as doing Navy Cadets. I dropped out of high school after year 10 and worked at a couple of different places but ended up working on a cattle farm. I enjoy playing my bass, making music, camping and tending to my little herb garden.

I have 1 little sister that I absolutely adore, she is 18 and doing a Bachelor of Nursing as well as working at Pharmacy. She does dancing in her spare time. She lives with me 3 days a week and my dad the other 4 when she works.

I originally applied for the Navy when I was 16 but I didn’t hear anything from them until I was 18 when I was offered a job with only 8 days’ notice to start. It was a big change to pack up and move to Victoria here I stayed for just over a year and a half, from there I moved to NSW got my first ship posting to HMAS Brisbane and was there for about a year. In 2019, after leaving HMAS Brisbane I then got the opportunity to go to United States for  5 months, I’m glad to visit US pre-COVID and had a great time living in another country.

My return to Australia in late 2019 when I got posted to South Australia, to Commission HMAS Sydney. I lived there for about 5 months before sailing the ship for the first time in 2020. It was the most bizarre thing with COVID as there were no lockdowns or restrictions before leaving (apart from the panic buying and toilet paper shortage). We were still going out in South Australia to festivals and wine tours right up until we left. And in the 1st week we were at sea, sailing from South Australia to NSW everywhere went into lockdown. It was very bizarre to try and find a house and move states in the middle of a lockdown.

My crew and I are 2/3rds into deployment. This is my first deployment in a COVID environment and I have to say it is nothing like I’ve ever done in my Naval career. With most other deployments you get to spend some time in the countries you pull into. This allows for respite and gives everyone a break from each other and allows for some personal space. Normally, the routine for a Deployment is you spend 1-2 weeks out at sea then have 3-5 days alongside a different country.

This deployment is very different. We are basically confined to this 147-metre floating piece of steel with the same people everyday, but we are trying to make the best of it. There is very little actual respite and even when they are days off you are still at work. I have stepped off the ship 4 times since leaving Australia. The ship booked a bowling alley in San Diego for a few hours we had our first piece of dry land about a month and a half into the trip. 

We have had 2 hikes in US which were absolutely lovely. Then, the shop booked an entire hotel for 2 nights and it was amazing to have my own room and shower to myself. Although these were great opportunities, they were strictly supervised and you don’t feel very free.

Life on board is not the best. I share a room with 8 other guys. Then our room and the room next door share a bathroom. There are 3 showers; 1 Washing machine, 1 Dryer, 4 sinks and 2 Toilets between 18 guys so things can get a bit hectic sometimes. The bed are 3 lots of 3 high bunk beds (Navy term is Pit), and each pit has little curtains so you can have some privacy whilst you sleep. We have a cafeteria where we eat and play board games, and 1 movie room and 1 rec room. Although the spaces are quite small so most of us just watch movies on our phones in bed.

There is definitely a story behind the cartoon. The cartoon is basically an adult themed cartoon with crude humour, but it was funny to watch in high school. Growing up I was often told that I had a girl’s name as a last name until this show came out where the main character who was male had the same name, and suddenly it was a cool name to have. Then joining the Navy where everyone is called by their last name and people giving me quotes from the show all the time. So the name stuck. It feels weird to go back to my hometown and hear people call me by my first name.

So once again, thank you very much for the dhoby bag, I absolutely love it, and I am so thankful that you took the time and went the extra mile. Seriously, I am so grateful to you, receiving this dhoby is one of the highlights of this trip. 

Feel free to keep in touch.

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Dear Aussie Hero Quilts,

I have just received my quilt and washing bag, beautifully handcrafted by Lyn R. Thank you so much I feel extremely grateful to have received such beautiful items!

We have just sailed from United States and I can honestly say, I was not prepared for the cold nights we had. The quilt I received was the perfect extra layers that kept me warm and toasty. This trip is a little more challenging than previous trips, I have been deployed on and to receive mail with personal / handcrafted goodies really has made it just that little bit better.

Thank you again,

Warm Regards

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Dear Jan-Maree,

Thank you for the unexpected delight of seeing my service in the Australian Army recognised in the form of a quilt. I have written directly to Joy to thank her personally for her exquisite quality and total surprise.

Your ability to arouse a sense of pride in the ordinary people who serve our nation and create a symbol to evaluate their family pride in quilts at a critical time is outstanding, as is their recognition of service to the nation.

Our family were also delighted that you support our four-legged friends who are loyal members of our team and save so many lives.

Please continue this valuable work, so this nation will never again experience the ill-informed hostility experienced by our troops arriving home from Vietnam. Aussie Hero Quilts is healing the damage done in the past by caring for the people, not the politics or the mission.

Your quilts and laundry bags make a difference.

Sincerely,

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Dear Jan-Maree,

I recently received a quilt and would like to thank yourself, Kerri and Bridget for it. It is an impressive work of art.

I was also impressed to read your letter just how busy you have all been since 2012.

I wish you all the best with the valuable work that you and your team are undertaking.

Thank you

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Hi Julie,

Thank you so much. I received the pink quilt you made me last week and it is so lovely. We have been deployed since March and not allowed off the ship because of COVID-19. So it was nice to get a mail delivery from Australia.

I really appreciate your card too. Thank you for the quilt. It will be with me for years to come.

Kind Regards

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Hi Marilyn,

I hope this letter finds you well and Covid free!!

The ADF has kept me busy for 18 years now. I joined the Army as an infantry soldier and I have spent the past 14 years of my career specialising in that field. As a result, NSW has been my home for 14 years as well. I never thought I would live where I am now, but it has grown on me and I was able to meet my wife amongst the crowd. My wife and I are blessed with 2 beautiful children. They supply us with hours of entertainment as well as constant supervision (insert smile followed by a sigh).

Puffing Billy brings me some great memories as a child going for a ride along the winding tracks. I still remember being allowed to sit with my legs outside the carriage and looking down at the trees. From my distant memory I recall going to a very cold waterslide whenever we visited the Puffing Billy area.

Before signing off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to hand make a laundry bag for me. These items are highly sought after and coveted by their owners. We can usually pick who owns the bag by the design. In the early days of deployments it was just white mesh bags and now the laundry is full of colour and designs. 

Take care of yourself Marilyn and thank you for assisting the Servicemen and women of Australia.

Regards….

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Well that’s a wrap for this week. 

Thanks for sharing such wonderful notes of gratitude, it really is a highlight of my week, how about yours?

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