Happy Tuesday Friends!
Dear Ruth S,
Thankyou from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful laundry bag you made for me. The presentation of the quilt and laundry bag came as a wonderful surprise, and I feel extremely honoured to have received them.
I had most of the family around on Friday night as my youngest son had come down from QLD for a visit. So, we were sitting having a few beers when a voice says, “hey do you remember me?” I looked around and had to do a double take. It was none other than a former Chief of the Air Force. He had come to present me with the quilt and laundry bag for my service to the country. I have got to say I was totally gob smacked and humbled by the presentation. I later learned that my son was the instigator of the presentation and that all the family members were aware of what was coming.
I had seen my son’s quilt and laundry bag previously and I know how much he values them. However, I never imagined that I would one day receive one myself. I had not been posted on operations, but I was heavily involved in the planning for ADF operations in Timor. My last job in the Permanent Air Force was leading the Command-and-Control Implementation Team in setting up the new Joint Operations Headquarters at Bungendore, so I guess I had some input to operations being conducted back then.
Like you, my wife and I are retired, and we do plenty of travelling, so the laundry bag is set to get plenty of use. In fact, we are off to Fiji at the end of September, and I will be taking the bag with us. We also have a couple more overseas cruises booked for next year, so I might have to investigate getting the Bag a passport.
Again Ruth, thank you for your wonderful gesture. I am a very proud and humbled man.
Hi Cathy H!
So despite the fact I had the chance to meet you in person and have the amazing opportunity to have you present the quilt you made for me in person, I have still been intending to send you a letter to formally thank you.
Where to start? Well firstly, I must again thank you so much.
The time and care which you put in to produce something so
wonderful and meaningful is so incredibly appreciated. I feel
so lucky to have had someone like yourself who was willing
to spend their time creating the quilt and laundry bag which
will forever make me think of both my first deployment, the fact that my work does actually mean something to someone, and will make me think back to my first (and hopefully not the last) exposure to Aussie Hero Quilts.
I loved reading through your letter and gaining an insight in to your life, and I look forward to crossing paths with you again sometime in the future. Hope, Zoe and Aloha look to be wonderful companions and I loved their photos. From reading the stories you shared it sounds like they are amazing animals to have as your family, and to see impact the lives of others around you (Hope in particular).
Your time with Aussie Hero’s sounds like it has been amazing. To think of the number of people you have brought a smile to? It is just amazing! I loved listening to the stories of how Aussie Hero Quilts came to exist, and to think you have presented quilts to everyone from the Navy, to Invictus Games Athletes is just amazing. I guess you can now tick off an Air Force Air Traffic Controller who is also a Navy Diver!
The stories of your students are lovely. I am excited that one of your subjects is food tech- I love cooking! (Although I don’t get much time to cook in my current job given how often I am away!). I think it is so kind that you have facilitated the creation and delivery of laundry bags from your school, those on deployment would have been so grateful (I hope that some replies came back, obviously while overseas at times we barely get reliable internet, so it would be a challenge at times for them to properly show their appreciation).
I hope the Aussie Hero’s dinner coming up goes well. I would love to one day come along and to represent/ work with you all to help what you do. Now that COVID is a part of our daily lives it is great that we are all returning to a sense of normality.
As I mentioned when I was with you in person, every little detail of my quilt and laundry bag has blown me away. The stitching, the embroidery, the aircraft designs and the F35 print… Not to
mention all of the lovely shades of blue! My favourite colour! It is just amazing. I have now taken my quilt and laundry bag on to HMAS Adelaide where it will live on my bed for the next 18 months, so that while I am away I am reminded of our lovely dinner and of the kindness of those around me.
I love the brevet and embroided message. It will serve as a prompt for my story as I share it with friends and family long in to the future.
Know that this quilt will be with me every day of my future deployments on board HMAS Adelaide. You cannot underestimate how much it will mean when I have been away from everyone who I love for months and am feeling rubbish and alone and I get to lie there and wrap myself in the symbol of someone’s kindness and care. It is just so incredibly special!
So what about myself? I was born in NSW but from the age of 2 grew up in a small village in the North East of England. After my parents separated I returned to Australia aged 16 with my mum. I have a sister, who is 23, as well as a half brother and sister, who are 11 and 7 respectively.
I work as an Air Force Air Traffic Controller. I trained as an officer through the Australian Defence Force Academy and then spent 4 years training as an Air Traffic Controller and then working in the tower as a qualified controller. During my career I have worked as controller facilitating military and civilian flying operations, as well as emergency flying operations during the 2019-20 bush fires. I have trained other people to be controllers and have worked on exercise in the field from our deployed tower.
Last year I was employed on exercises managing the integration of flying operations and military fires during Amphibious operations. What that basically means is it was my job to make sure the ship and artillery gunnery fires were de-conflicted with all of the aircraft flying in the battle space. This is now something I can be called upon for as needed.
At the start of this year I posted on to HMAS Adelaide as an ATC, controlling all of the helicopter operations launching from, and operating around our ship. It is a very interesting job mixing aircraft from a number of ships, but also acting as a liaison with Australian and international agencies to arrange flying approvals as well as brief during operational planning meetings and cycles.
When I am home, I love having the opportunity to spend time with my siblings, I have a new partner, and I love going out and finding fun places to travel to or new experiences to enjoy with the extensive network of friends you gain from being an ADF member. I currently live in NSW.
My lifestyle and work doesn’t really facilitate pets, but I would love to have one in the future. Otherwise, my remaining time is normally spent doing exercise (I love triathlons).
I really hope that this letter finds you well and in great spirits. I look forward to one day catching up again in person.
Thank you for the amazing quilt and laundry bag you made for me. I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon.
Hi Cath H,
I am the very, very grateful participant of one of your beautiful handcrafted quilts and laundry bags. Thank you so very much for the time and thought you put in to my quilt. It has a very safe space at the end of my bed.
I have read your beautiful letter – thank you so much for sharing some of your life with me. I grew up on the South Coast of NSW and moved to Canberra for work in 2018. I mentioned in my brief that I love swimming in the ocean… I miss it here in Canberra especially on beautiful summer days! My favourite pastime is spending time where my grandparents lived further down the South Coast. We’re actually heading down there in a few weeks for a quick break and I can’t wait.
I extend my thanks to your son for his service in the Army and Air Force. Our capability as a nation is so important and our Servicemen and women truly are heroes.
Thank you again Cath for your time and thoughtfulness not just for my beautiful quilt, but for each and every quilt you make.
Take care and best wishes,
Dear Gayle W
I wanted to take the time to personally thank you for taking the time to create something so special and unique.
In a way of an introduction and a little bit about myself. I grew up in an Army family – my dad served over 40 years full time service. We moved to Canberra when I was 11 years old and have lived here ever since. I completed my studies in Social Work, working predominantly in mental health. I have been working for Defence for the past 4 years. The first 3 years as the Senior Mental Health Advisor for Joint Health Unit – ACT/Southern NSW and the past 12 months in the Taskforce as Assistant Director – People & Wellbeing. Being a Mental Health professional in the Taskforce has been an honour supporting Taskforce personnel, Defence Witnesses and the Defence Representatives
When I received your quilt, I was nearly in tears. I feel so appreciated and acknowledged. It warms my heart knowing that there are so many kind, caring and generous people like yourself, out there. My husband (who is veteran, previously service in the Air Force) and I are currently renovating and we have the perfect spot we wish to display the quilt
Thank you so much and thank you for telling me a little about yourself
All the best.
PS. I’m sorry I took so long to write to you but please know every time I look at my quilt, I do so with a smile.…
Dear Brittany F,
I received my laundry bag and would like to say thankyou to all involved for such a beautiful masterpiece. I will use it with pride
“Thank you so much for the beautiful quilt you have made, and it was presented to me on Vietnam Veterans’ Day following an official ceremony. I was thrilled and humbled, as I was doing my work as I was trained to do, and never expected to be honoured in such a way.
When presented to me I did not know whether to laugh or cry, my emotions were all over the place. The best part was that my family were present and my son even had a tear in his eye.
It was wonderful to think they were so proud of their mother, my nursing over in Vietnam was so different to hospital nursing here and I am so grateful that I have helped some of the boys in a practical way, helping their needs and talking to them of home.
Since receiving the quilt I have taken it with me, to show the doctors and staff where I had appointments. They thought it was beautiful and that you had done such a memorable quilt for me.
I wish to thank you again, may God bless you so that you can keep up your wonderful work.”
Good morning AHQ,
As we begin our transit back to Fleet Base East we took some time to photography just some of the HERO Quilts and washing bags we have received so far.
We’d like to extend our appreciation to your team of quilters, our crew are extremely grateful to have received a quilt. The Commanding Officer was particularly pleased with his quilt arriving in the mail on last leg of our 3 month deployment. I know that the team will be holding onto their quilts as a keepsake, I know I certainly will.
Again, thank you very much.
Good evening team AHQ,
I am delighted to let you know I presented this amazing quilt last night.
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