Hey all, 

The feedback I have received made it pretty clear that you enjoyed last Thursday’s post about 30000 Laundry Bags and what they mean to our recipients. Here are a few more messages that I missed including, either because my chemo brain is to blame (haa haa my story and I am sticking to it!) or because my request was received by busy people at short notice and they were not able to meet my short deadline.. but they still wanted to write something so hence this secone post….

Enjoy! 

…..

I first encountered AHQ when I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. Our mail area was halfway through the building and when they first started to arrive (they were not personalised at this stage) we were all curious what they were and when you got them it was like a mixed bag of lollies – you were not sure what you would get. There were so many amazing ones and once we all clued on that there was laundry bags and quilts in mail it became a massive scramble to the mail room on mail day to secure a quilt and laundry bag to call ours. It was funny seeing friends pass on this secret so their friends could secure one. I saw so many and some truly amazing ones. I had a friend who deployed and stayed on after me so I asked JM if she could make a special one (I wonder if this started the idea for personalised ones) for my friend. She did and my friend loved it. I have since been involved in requesting other personalised ones and they have always been amazing. I actually missed out on my first trip so I was lucky to be asked what I would like and had a nice surprise when I had a personalised Santa sack arrive (I got home in Nov) and a beautiful quilt which is very special to me. I can’t say too much more or it will give away the secret that I am the favourite!! This amazing kind gesture means so much to me and others. I can’t believe there was a time when it didn’t exist or even worse when it had started and it was nearly shut down over ‘taking up too much space in the mail’. How big this has become from such a lovely thoughtful kind idea.   When I was asked to transcribe some thank you letters I jumped at the chance to try and give back where I can. I certainly can’t make a quilt to contribute lol

…..

 I was blessed to receive an AHQ LB whilst I was deployed to AFG. Receiving packages from home really help in mentally getting through a deployment and time spent away from family. Receiving the personalized LB was something else. It was like receiving a small slice of Australia. The unexpected kind gesture made me feel appreciated and not forgotten. AHQ is absolutely phenomenal and delivers hope and support in the form of the individualized quilts and LB.  I’m sure I speak for everyone lucky enough to be on the receiving end that these lift your spirit and outlook, knowing that people you haven’t met have so much support for the sacrifice being made by deployed members for our country. 30000 LBs is a tremendous achievement but not unexpected when you learn about the people passionately behind the organisa. A huge congratulations and here’s to 30000 more LBs in support of Australian Defence members supporting Australia’s interest away from their families.

…..

 After 6 years since serving in Afghanistan, I still use my laundry bag! This summer I took my pretty Indian yellow and pink floral LB camping. It was so handy! These laundry bags, whether you use them overseas on deployment, or back home now as a civilian, are a beautiful reminder of humanity’s love and care for one another . Congratulations on your great achievement AHQ

…..

For many of us, the quilts and laundry bags from Jan-maree and team were the only touch of character or colour that adorned our rooms while deployed. Not necessarily because we didn’t have other precious items, but because each one was so unique, so personalised, and filled us with so much pride. I don’t know a single recipient over the years who doesn’t still proudly display their Aussie Hero gifts, and I am lucky to be one of them.

……

 I love my personalised LB which goes with me everywhere when travelling.  The fact that I am part of the 30,000 is very special.   Such very talented ladies doing something special for the troops is very much appreciated.   Stay Calm and Keep Quilting ladies.  We all love you for what you do.   Hugs to all.

…..

 The laundry bags add colour and fun to an otherwise boring and often hot chore. It helps you find your laundry and Its fun trying to figure out who owns what bag.

…..

 When l first received my LB l was so surprised as the letter l received stated that is was so awesome to make something totally different to what she had made in the past, for me it was extra special because of the beautiful colours she used, especially my wedding colours it just brought do much colour into an area that was so lifeless and colourless ..thank you AHQ.

…..

 I received a laundry bag during a recent deployment. The personalised gift was a constant reminder of home, and why I was there. Like most people, mine has become a reminder of the friends I made, the experiences I had and the role I performed.

When I was down, happy or alone, it was one of the few things that was individual to me. It’s a treasured momento of what I achieved, but a reminder that there are those at home that miss us and care that aren’t immediate family. I hope these wonderful people understand the positive effect on the servicemen and women’s lives that they have touched.

…..

I received a LB whilst on deployment to AMAB, OP Accordian, in 2014, from Ballarat (I think).

 It has now travelled with around Australia and to Ireland and Hawaii. I still use it today when travelling, it’s the first thing I pack.

 My LB connects me with community and is comforting knowing I have it with me.

…..

after being in the army for some 28yrs I had deployed to the Solomon’s, spent time in the jungles of Malaysia, did two stints working on patrol boats up north of Darwin and was in awe of the majestic mountains around tarrin kot in afghanistan, it was not until I worked in Dubai that I actually received a quilt, to my amazement the trouble the maker had gone too to provide someone they had never met and didn’t know was overwhelming. I can never show enough gratitude to the husband and wife team that created the masterpiece I received. To say I was humbled would be an understatement, this quilt and the laundry bag is a symbol that the ordinary Australian does care about our service men and women who put their lives on the line and spend months away from home in hostile countries can add up. When you have spent this long in the service of your country it is like the cherry on the cake for a job well done, I remain this countries humble and obedient servant,

 …..

 It is like a warm hug from our people back home.  A simple but most touching gesture. Personally crafted, it connects you with the community and the duty you carry out.

…..

 The arrival of my beautiful quilt and LB is T.K was such a beautiful surprise and overwhelming that someone thought so highly enough of what we do, they took the time to personalize these for me. I was overwhelmed and so touched and excited I shared it immediately on social media.

After walking in from a long tough day the beautiful bright colors immediately made me feel like a I given a warm hug. It was so beautiful walking into the laundry and seeing everyone’s bags folded on top of the washing machine and seeing the care that was taken to make these bags. I have taken mine on every trip and MALT I have done and to this day makes me smile and extremely grateful for the work that’s gone into these beautiful things. Thank you. 💕

…..

I received my LB while serving in the Middle East in 2014. To receive a thoughtful, handmade gift from a beautiful human I’d never met was beyond moving. With personal touches such as one my favourite quotes and a reminder of my home state, I still and will continue to use it and think of a beautiful lady that gave up her time to make me feel valued & special’ xx 

…..

Congratulations to AHQ on your 30,000th laundry bag! I think over the years I handed out quite a few of them! One large parcel containing well over 100 LB’s came aboard HMAS Success when we were in the Middle East. Lots of our people had received quilts by that stage, and many of those had come with a laundry bag. As they appeared around the messes, those without a laundry bag started to ask if they could have one. I guess this had happened before, so the unexpected parcel of 100 or so LB’s came with the request that I distribute them to anyone who didn’t already have one. Just about the first bag that came out had a picture of a Maltese that reminded me of our own dogs, and I was tempted to keep it myself. Anyway, I didn’t, and put it out on a big table with all the others so ship’s company could choose their own. After a few days we only had two or three left, amazingly including ‘my’ dog one! So my AHQ doggy laundry bag now goes with me everywhere, reminding me of my time on Success, but also of the wonderful people in Australia who lift ADF members’ spirits by generously putting their craft skills to work for us. Bless you all!!

…..

I received my LB while on deployment in 2012. Since then it’s become part of my life, even being placed in my fire evacuation kit during bushfire risk around our home in the Tasmanian countryside. Across my part-time and full time service my LB has accompanied me on exercises and deployments. It’s been moved a number of times across the States during posting cycles and, like my Aussie Hero quilt, it will become a family heirloom – although two of my children through their own service have their own Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags. But my LB, as plain as it is, represents much of my personal history. For that I am always indebted to Jan-Maree and the Aussie Heroes team.

…..

The AHQ care box caught up with me during my transit to Juba, South Sudan,  to join the HQ team for ANZAC Day 2013. It was a really wonderful surprise to receive the little box of joy (LBJ) from home. The LB and quilt were beautiful! The design, made up of squares of Australian flora and fauna game me an instant re-connection with home – I don’t mind saying it made me choke up a bit, and then a bit more. The other goodies in the box were a bonus too – Aussie munchies, etc.

 

Saying thank you didn’t seem sufficient then as it doesn’t now, but again: thank you!
 
Our ANZAC Day Dawn Service was really special. We gathered as a group of Aussies at a place by the Nile River. Simple ceremony as no Chaplain or proper cenotaph, but our guys cobbled something together that worked really well. I’ll remember that service as a particularly special one.
 It was wonderful to read your AHQ team’s thoughts (which came in the box) regarding why they do what they do. I’m deeply humbled to be mentioned in connection even in the slightest way with those truly selfless Australians who by their deeds forged our present and established the worthy legend of the ANZACS and the veterans who followed them.

 

Australia gave me and my family a home many years ago, for which I am sincerely grateful. It is the very least I can do to help pursue our interests overseas – it is a mighty honour to have been given this opportunity – your support is most welcome validation of our work.
 
Again, my best wishes to you and the AHQ team.
…..

The laundry bags made by the incredible volunteers at Aussie Hero Quilts, are so much more than just a laundry bag. When I was deployed in 2014, they became a talking point amongst the base, making mail days exciting for not only the recipients but everyone doing laundry. Not only did they bring colour to a normally barren environment, they brought joy and sparked conversations about the patterns, themes and makers. I am truly grateful for time and effort put in by all the volunteers at Aussie Hero Quilts (special mention to Jan Maree (founder) and Lindsay D (maker of my laundry bag). 
…..

I write to congratulate the many, many people who have contributed to the success of AHQ, especially on reaching the incredible total of 30,000 laundry bags made and distributed.

As one who has been fortunate enough to receive two such bags and been instrumental in the distribution of probably close to 600 such bags (my cabin in HMAS Adelaide in 2018 was simply overflowing with them during Operation APEC2018 Assist!!), I have witnessed the delight and joy these laundry bags have generated when they have been received. I remember one group of deployable specialists, who had missed out on receiving a bag the year before, being overwhelmed with a sense of being appreciated and valued for their work – and also feeling a real sense of being part of the Adelaide team. I recall a team of American coastguards who were with us in Port Moresby being stunned at the generosity and creativity of those who had made the bags; and feeling proud to be counted amongst the “Aussies” as they received their bags in recognition of their critical role in the mission. I have seen the word spread around the ship and countless people knocking on my door and asking whether I had any spares. And, on a purely practical level, I have seen, and known myself, just how much easier it made washing day when your load was one of dozens and dozens lined up, waiting their turn.

So, to everyone who has “made a bag”, whether you made 1 or you made 1000: “thank you!”. You have made a difference. And every time that bag is looked up, you are remembered with a smile and with gratitude.

BZ to all.

Chaplain Andrew,  RAN.

…..

I didn’t truly appreciate the value of a laundry bag until I got on of my own. When i received it the significance hit me and it is now one of my prized possessions because someone back home that I have never met, had done an act of service for me just because they appreciated what I was doing for them and that was spending many months away from my home and family.  Five years later I still use it every time I travel away from home. 

….

For many of us, the quilts and laundry bags from Jan-maree and team were the only touch of character or colour that adorned our rooms while deployed. Not necessarily because we didn’t have other precious items, but because each one was so unique, so personalised, and filled us with so much pride. I don’t know a single recipient over the years who doesn’t still proudly display their Aussie Hero gifts, and I am lucky to be one of them.

…..

As an Australian serving on operations overseas,  knowing that there are wonderful people, who you do not know, back in Australia that are spending valuable time to make you a laundry bag or a quilt is very humbling.  When your LB or quilt arrives it makes you feel special and fully of thanks. Thank you to all the wonderful people who sew for us when we are so far from home.  Much love.   (I received my LB and quilt on my second tour of Afghanistan in 2016)





So, never ever doubt the value of the laundry bag you are making or have made, and whilst often it seems that the quilts receive the lion’s share of the attention, please know that the laundry bags have their own very special place in the heart of our troops and are every bit as valued.

Till next time… keep spreading the word and happy stitching! 

Lots of love, Jan-Maree xx 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This