The Invictus Games are coming soon to Sydney!
The Games are an international sporting event for wounded or injured service men and women to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation.
Recently, at a very moving presentation, the Australian athletes and support staff were given personalized quilts and laundry bags made by the Aussie Hero Quilt team and their leader, Jan-Maree Ball O.A.M. Each quilt and laundry bag has the symbols of the sports in which the recipient is participating, the symbol of the service in which they served, their initials and done in colours or designs meaningful to them. It has taken months of organisation for this to come to fruition and quilters from all over Australia have been busy sewing. The quilters were inspired by the strength of spirit and motivation of the athletes and the athletes were very moved by the care and thoughtfulness of the quilters.
One of our bowlers from Pennant Hills Womens’ Bowling Club, Beverley Fairbairn, is a member of the group and her recipient is Davin Bretherton, who is participating in three sports, sailing, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. Davin has above knee amputation and credits sport with saving his life. He has recently returned from completing the Kokoda Track.
Jan-Maree Ball, the founder and co-ordinator of the organization is from West Pennant Hills and served in the RAAF and Navy herself. Jan-Maree explained why she formed AHQ. “Aussie Heroes was formed for three main reasons. Firstly, I have always been ashamed of the way our Vietnam Veterans were treated when they came home from the war. That cannot be allowed to happen and that is why our motto is “We care about the people, not the politics or the mission”.
Secondly, I have always felt we need to let our troops know that we appreciate them. When there is a need, be it fire, flood or earthquake, or any sort of trouble around the world, they answer the call and go wherever they are needed whenever it is. I wanted to be able to say thank you for that.
Thirdly, I heard of a soldier who was in hospital here in Australia. He was injured in Afghanistan in 2010 and flown to Germany. Whilst there he was given a quilt by the American organization Hero Quilts so that he would not be the only man in the ward without a quilt. I was grateful that the Americans were so generous but was ashamed that there was not an Australian quilt for him. These days we have Wounded Warrior Quilts in Iraq and Afghanistan and do our best to make sure that no Australian service personnel seriously wounded goes uncovered by one of our quilts.”