Director David Richmond of the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services awarded Vietnam veteran, Patrick Farrin of Boothbay, the Maine Silver Star Honorable Service Medal in a ceremony at the Carriage House Restaurant in East Boothbay on Friday, April 26, which is owned and operated by Farrin’s eldest son and Executive Chef Kelly Farrin.
The Maine Silver Star Honorable Service Medal is awarded to veterans with honorable service on their DD-214s, were former POWs or received the Purple Heart, and who entered military service from Maine or have been living in Maine for five years.
Farrin was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970 at the age of 19 and served with the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal), which was based in Chu Lai. Farrin’s squad would be flown out by helicopter to Camp Stinson, a fire support base in the mountains, for about 30 days at a time, where they would go on patrol in the bush until they were rotated back to base. Farrin always kept one of his dog tags in his right boot for identification purposes, in case he ever stepped on a landmine.
Farrin’s intuition was right. While on patrol, he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) made from two tuna fish cans, shrapnel, and explosive materials. The device was pressure sensitive, so when his right foot stepped down on the device, it exploded and flipped him backwards, spraying both his legs with shrapnel. He was evacuated and recovered at a hospital in Chu Lai, and received the Purple Heart. Farrin expressed that he is forever grateful for the medivac crew's actions that day.
“It is such an honor to present these medals to our state’s veterans to recognize and thank them for their service and sacrifice,” said MBVS Director David Richmond. “It was moving to me to witness the love and admiration that Pat’s family clearly has for him. It was also clear that the worry that a parent has for their deployed servicemember― or finding out that they have been wounded in action― doesn’t fade with time. To Pat, thank you again, and to the Farrin family, thank you for your support.”
Farrin had second close call in 1971 while on mess duty at Camp Stinson, when the base came under rocket attack. The mess tent took a direct hit, and Pat’s right hand was wounded by shrapnel. When the fighting stopped, a medic cared for Pat’s wounds, removing the shrapnel and stitching and bandaging his hand.
Farrin’s family is very busy. His youngest son, Kip, helps run the family business (Farrin & Sons), and sons Kelly and Kip, worked together to create a “culinary diversion” to bring their father to the Carriage House Restaurant for the ceremony in his honor. Farrin’s mother, Frances Mank, was also on hand for the ceremony; with evident pride and gratitude, she pinned the Maine Silver Star Honorable Service Medal on her son.
"Thank you for this,” said Farrin after the ceremony. “It really means a lot and brings my mother and I full circle. She was sent a Western Union telegram by the U.S. Army informing her that I had been wounded, then waited weeks before she knew I was alright. Today brings closure to that."
To learn more about the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services and its veteran recognition program, please visit www.maine.gov/veterans/recognition