Every deployment has its certainties - the absence from family and friends and long hours seven days a week are guaranteed.
Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers there is now another certainty for Australian Defence Force personnel on deployment - a quilt or laundry bag from Aussie Hero Quilts.
Aussie Hero Quilts have been providing Navy personnel with quilts and laundry bags for more than five years now.
Over the course of their deployment, the ship and crew of HMAS Newcastle received a number of handmade quilts and laundry bags which were provided through the generosity of Aussie Hero Quilts.
Task Group Afghanistan recently held a fundraising barbecue as a way to say thank you and give something back to the volunteer organisation.
Event organiser and clerk Lance Corporal Emily Lahey worked with Aussie Hero Quilts to distribute the quilts and laundry bags to personnel.
“During my time here, we’ve received 30 boxes with quilts and laundry bags for personnel in theatre,” she said.
“Everyone has received a laundry bag or quilt, if not both.
“So we thought it was time to give back to the almost 200 volunteers who give their time, creativity and money to make these for us.”
The Task Group headquarters raised money through gold coin donations and a raffle for a day off - a coveted prize on operations.
“We managed to raise almost $1,000, which I’m told could make more than 90 quilts,” Lance Corporal Lahey said.
“It’s not just about the quilts though, they put a lot of love and care into the packages they come in as well, and they always seem to arrive at the perfect time, just when someone needs it most.
“To know that a complete stranger has put so much thought and care into sending a laundry bag or quilt to you, it puts a smile on your face every time you see it.”
For more information on Aussie Hero Quilts visit http://www.aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/s20152518.