Ten years on from receiving an Aussie Hero Quilt and laundry bag, Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Shannon Killman still treasures them as much as the day she received them in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.
CAPTION: Flight Lieutenant Kristian Henderson proudly displays his Aussie Hero Quilt, received while deployed with HMAS Adelaide on Operation Tonga Assist 22. Story by Squadron Leader Jessica Aldred.
With the Aussie Hero Quilts annual thank you dinner on October 21 in Canberra, WO2 Killman is an advocate for making the time to thank all the volunteers who make quilts and laundry bags for serving personnel.
She said her quilt and laundry bag continues to play a part in their lives of her whole family.
“When I received mine, it was comforting to know that there were people still out there that valued us and took time to put such precious gifts together to demonstrate it,” WO2 Killman said.
“My quilt and laundry bag have travelled all over Australia with me both on courses and postings – it is a constant fixture on our couch here in Canberra as my little boys regularly wrap themselves in it when we watch movies together.”
Air traffic controller Flight Lieutenant Kristian Henderson received his on return from Operation Tonga Assist 22 in person from the creator and said it was a humbling experience.
“Being presented something that was so personal, with so much time and care put in to it, from a complete stranger, really did make me feel that the contributions of the individuals are appreciated and matter – it was incredibly humbling and special,” Flight Lieutenant Henderson said.
CAPTION: Commander Simon Kelly, RAN, with his Aussie Hero Quilt, received while deployed on operation in Afghanistan, in 2016.
For Commander Simon Kelly, his quilt and laundry bag was a great cure for mid-deployment blues during his trip to Afghanistan in 2016.
“My wife had arranged for the quilt to reflect my three great passions – the Phantom, NSW Waratahs Rugby Union team and the Wallabies,” Commander Kelly said.
“As a recipient, I’m incredibly grateful of the commitment and dedication of the collective volunteer team – with broad description in the requests, the imagination and skill to produce these works of art are a great boost when you’re away from home on deployment.”
Aussie Hero Quilts volunteers have made more than 15,700 quilts and 33,700 laundry bags since they began.
Aussie Hero Quilts founder Jan-Maree Ball said the volunteers are looking forward to meeting the people they create the quilts and laundry bags for.
“These quilts and laundry bags are a gift to remind our servicemen and women that they appreciated by more than their family and friends – it’s a tangible, visible reminder that their service is a valued contribution to Australia and their nation is grateful,” Mrs Ball said.
“Many of our dedicated volunteers do not get the opportunity to meet Defence members, let alone the people that they create their quilts and bags for.
“The thank you dinner is an annual opportunity for them to come together with recipients and serving members to hear first-hand, just how much their quilts and bags mean to those they sew for – and encourage them to keep sewing for their next recipients.”
CAPTION: Warrant Officer Class Two Shannon Killman’s sons snuggle under the Aussie Hero Quilt their mum received on deployment to Afghanistan in 2013.