It Took 72 Years but Uncle Matty Finally Came Home!
A traditional number’s person, Jim Farrell had never put his pen to paper to write a narrative until he was moved deeply by the significant discovery of his Uncle Matty’s D-Day rifle from WWII. Reaching deeply into his family’s history and memorabilia, Farrell recreated as much of his Uncle’s life as possible, which turned into an incredible opportunity for Farrell to explore his past and write the book Uncle Matty Comes Home.
Farrell will be talking about his book and signing copies on Veteran’s Day, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 753 New Jersey 18, Brunswick Square, East Brunswick, N.J. (732-432-0100).
The journey to bring Uncle Matty’s D-Day M1 Garand Rifle home started for Farrell at Saint Jerome’s Church in the South Bronx. This journey has led him to Normandy, France; Nottingham, England; 508th PIR reunions, The Pentagon, and many other places.
The journey has ended for the moment with the first annual mass for Uncle Matty at Saint Jerome’s Church on June 4, 2017, with more than 40 family members and 100 parishioners in attendance. (A mass in Uncle Matty’s honor will now be held there every Pentecostal Sunday.)
Private Martin Teahan of HQ Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 82nd Airborne Division, died on June 6, 1944, near a church in Picauville, Normandy, on the first day of the Invasion of Normandy. While scouting a position, he was shot in the leg, captured, and then killed by a German soldier who thought he was reaching for a weapon.
A few days after D-Day, a French farmer in the area found an M1 Garand Rifle with the name M. Teahan engraved on the butt of the rifle. No one knew what the farmer did with the rifle for 72 years until it was discovered February 2016 by an active duty French Army Paratrooper Commander named General Patrick Collet.
Farrell said, “Martin Teahan, a legend to me and my family, was my uncle. We knew him as ‘Uncle Matty.’ A poor Irish Immigrant, stories of his bravery resonated with me as I grew up in the same rough neighborhood in the South Bronx as Uncle Matty.
“On March 12, 2016, five days before learning about my uncle’s historical D-Day rifle, my brother Jackie and I visited Saint Jerome’s Church in the South Bronx for the first time since our childhood. As we stood in the Church that day, we both realized we had never noticed a plaque that honored the parishioners who were killed in action in World War II. Uncle Matty was one of 65 names of World War II heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We marveled over the plaque and wondered why we never noticed it as kids.”
As fate would have it, on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2016 (some say, “It was the Luck of the Irish”), Farrell received an email from General Patrick Collet that he had acquired an M1 Garand rifle with the named M. Teahan engraved on it.
For decades Farrell’s sister Liz had been a member of the Friends and Family of the 508th PIR Association and had setup a profile page on the 508th PIR website. General Collet, determined to find who M. Teahan was, searched the 508th PIR website for an M. Teahan. He found the match and notified Liz and Farrell.
Farrell said, “We knew the moment we found out that the rifle was our Uncle Matty’s, he was coming home after 72 years. This moment changed our lives.” Jim has now become a life-time member of Friends and Family of the 508th PIR Association.
General Collet invited Farrell and his wife Monica to visit him and his family in June 2016. During their visit, General Collet allowed Farrell and Monica to see, feel, and hold the M1 rifle of the beloved Uncle Matty. Farrell said, “I knew I had to tell his story.”
Purchase Uncle Matty Comes Home at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or wherever books are sold. Copies are available on Kindle, paperback, or hardcover. For more information, contact Farrell at 732-995-0268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Jim Farrell: Jim Farrell, born in Bronx, N.Y., in 1956, grew up in the South Bronx during the 1960s and ’70s. A shy Irish-American kid, he escaped the rowdy streets of New York City and served his country by joining the army in 1974. He served as a Military Policeman at Fort Lewis, Washington; and then Camp Ames, South Korea, before returning home to the United States.
Once home, Farrell got a B.S. in accounting (1983) from SUNY, Binghamton through the G.I. Bill. Subsequently, he has held key financial positions as Tax Auditor for New York State Department of Finance, COO of a retail electronics chain, and CFO (1994) of Configuration Management Inc., an IT consulting company with headquarters in Red Bank, N.J.
Farrell co-founded Single Throw, Inc. (2001) an Internet marketing company in Wall, N.J., which now employs more than 30 people; and “Move Ahead 1,” a business education company (2004). As CFO of Single Throw and Move Ahead 1, Farrell is in charge of the company’s finances, human resources, and managing the quality of services produced by Single Throw.
Farrell served on the Board of Directors of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, was first vice president and then president (2007-2008). He also chaired the technology, finance, and E-newsletter committees. Through his leadership, the Lakewood Chamber was one of the first to have its own blog and podcasts of business issues. Farrell was instrumental in developing websites for both the Lakewood and Brick chambers of commerce.
Farrell also founded the Monmouth/Ocean Chapter of the Financial Executives Networking Group, and a new business alliance, 24 Chair Networking Group.
Farrell lives in East Brunswick with his wife Monica, a retired Assistant Academic Dean at St. John’s University, the College of Professional Studies, Staten Island and Queens’ campuses. As an active couple, the two have played countless rounds of tennis and golf together. They enjoy spending time with their golden retriever, Piper.