Pulling the threads together in crisis

This article has photo gallery Published on ABML-C Steven Bruni (author), CHAP Colin Tett (photographer)

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Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Matthew Wood and the Executive Officer HMAS Watson Commander Mattew Shand  (photo: Chaplain Colin Tett)
Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Matthew Wood and the Executive Officer HMAS Watson Commander Mattew Shand

The Defence family has pulled together to support one very special woman in need, who has touched the lives of thousands of operationally deployed Australian Defence personnel.
 
Many Navy, Army and Air Force members who have deployed over the last six or seven years have received a quilt or laundry bag from Aussie Hero Quilts, as a token of appreciation for the sacrifices made during service. 

The founder of the enterprise which seeks to provide a softer side to operations, was herself in need of some TLC when her house was destroyed by a fire last month. 
 
Jan-Maree Ball, her husband, twin sons and two dogs escaped with their car, but almost everything else was lost, including lots of Aussie Hero Quilts gifts to servicemen and women.
 
HMAS Watson was one of the first Navy bases to respond and Ship's Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Gary Clarke said it was the least the base could do.

"With so many of our ship's company having received quilts and or laundry bags from Aussie Hero Quilts, it was time that we gave back and assisted where we could," he said.
 
Within 24 hours of the devastating fire, there was a ‘Go Fund Me’ page set up to offer financial support in the short term and HMAS Darwin although deployed in the Middle East, raised $6,500 for the cause.  
 
Aussie Hero Quilts have produced more than 5,000 personalised quilts and 8,000 laundry bags, which they have given at no charge to Australian Defence Force members.

Mrs Ball was recognised on Australia Day with a Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to the Defence community.
 
"The overwhelming support I have received from the Australian Defence Force has made it possible for me to maintain a positive attitude and continue with what I am doing with Aussie Hero Quilts," she said.
 
For the past four weeks, Watson has been selling raffle tickets with the winner receiving four tickets to the third State of Origin. 

The draw was conducted on 1 July with Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Matthew Wood the lucky winner. 

Through the raffle, Watson raised another $500 for Aussie Hero Quilts and will continue to assist Mrs Ball and the rest of the Aussie Hero Quilts team.