Fuggedaboutit! Far From Being “Inactive,” South Jersey Division of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club is Still a “Very Active Group”———Even After 14 Years!

The Fun with Joe Never Ends Even as adults, members of the South Jersey Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club still love playing with GIjOEs out in their backyards. Here, during one of their diorama contests, members have set up multiple battle scenes depicting a 1:6 scale MASH tent, a flame-throwing Stuart tank, 1:6-scale palm trees and much, much more. Shown above are members John DiMatteo (standing) and Chris Mazzotta (kneeling). Absolutely FAN-tastic! (Photo: Carl Farrell) Click to enlarge.

As this map of New Jersey reveals, there are actually many different regions of the Garden State. We used to live smack dab in the middle (there in Somerset) and the South Jersey Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club is clustered only a short drive down the NJ turnpike. (Photo: bestofnj.com)

Good news for “Garden Staters”

Apparently, all is not as quiet in the world of GIjOE local club fandom as we had been led to believe. Quite the contrary, in fact. Imagine our excitement and surprise when we learned of the existence of yet another local club division that we never knew existed—until a couple of days ago! Unlike many of the disbanded or inactive local clubs, the South Jersey Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club has clearly not given up the ghost and continues to meet the needs of local Joe fandom in that part of the country. In fact, according to a recent communiqué we received from Carl Farrell, the secretary of this newly “rediscovered” and venerable division:

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“I’m sorry for the delay in my response for information about our club. I was away when I first received your request and had an unexpected delay in returning home. Anyway, here is the story of the South Jersey Division of the GIjOE Collectors Club: In the summer of 2001, I contacted the GIjOE Collectors Club/Master Collector down in Texas and expressed my interest in starting a local club. They sent me all the club start-up package along with a list of names and contact information of GIjOE/Master Collector members in the South Jersey area. I contacted 19 people on that list and in November of 2001 we had our first meeting with 9 members.”

EVERYONE takes “the Turnpike” Residents of New Jersey regularly ask “What exit do you take?” as a form of shorthand to quickly determine where a person lives. The NJ turnpike is the state’s primary NE-SW artery that EVERYONE has to take to get anywhere—even GIjOE club meetings! (Map: rutgers.edu)

“The South Jersey Division (SJD) has been active full-time from 2001 to the present. Over the last 14 years, we’ve lost a few members and picked up a few new ones. We started this year (2015) with 11 members on our roster and we typically average an attendance of 4-5 members at meetings. We are a very active group. We meet bi-monthly on the second Sunday of the month at a member’s home.”

Good friends, GREAT times At a recent meeting of the SJD held January 18, 2015, club President Scott Murray (left) and members Carl Farrell (center) and John DiMatteo (right) pose for quick pic with some of their new 1:6 scale GIjOE acquisitions. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Carl Farrell)

“Our activities include a family picnic every September, three or four field trips a year to museums, action figure conventions and sales, and to collectible shops that are within a day’s travel. We also sponsor public diorama contests with a local collectibles shop and donate GIjOE figures and accessories to local holiday toy drives.”

Picnic Prizes Galore— According to the SJD club Secretary, Carl Farrell: “This pic shows the Picnic Prizes from our 2014 picnic. The ‘mother club’ down in Texas treats us very well. They’ve sent us GIjOE figures and related accessories every year to use as door prizes at our family picnic!” (Photo: Carl Farrell)

“One of the projects we’re most proud of is a large glass-cased diorama designed, built, installed and donated to the Forgotten Warriors Museum at the Naval Air Station in Cape May, New Jersey, in 2010. All of the figures and material to make the diorama were donated by the entire club membership. Each member kicked in figures and purchased materials to make this project happen.We also have diorama and photo contests in-house, between our members.”

Remembering Vietnam Vets— Members of the SJD work to assemble a 1:6 scale diorama in a display case before presenting it to the Forgotten Warriors Museum in Cape May, NJ. (Photo: Carl Farrell)

“Most of our members are serious 12″ GIjOE collectors. We all own personal collections of 12”  GIjOE figures and accessories ranging from 30 to over 130 figures. My personal collection of 126 figures includes 5 original GI Joe figures from 1964 when I was a child (the pride of my collection is the GIjOE Hard Hat Diver).”

Hello, Charlie! This closeup of the club’s final Vietnam War diorama reveals GIjOEs on the far right about to liberate and rescue a caged American POW. Superb work, gentlemen! (Photo: Carl Farrell)

“Finally, our club’s website is hosted through Comcast along with our email found HERE. You will see something there too, that I forgot to mention: Our club President, Scott Murray, makes excellent custom boxes for GIjOE action figures! Thank you once again for contacting us and for including the South Jersey Division of the GIjOE Collectors Club on The Joe Report. Sincerely, Carl FarrellSecretary, SJD”

Remembering “Forgotten Warriors”— Members of the SJD enjoy combining their love of GIjOE with their interests in military history and get together for regular field trips to nearby museums, battlefields and other related attractions. During this visit to the Forgotten Warriors Museum in Cape May, SJD members Carl Farrell (seated, left), Luther Mathis (center) and John DiMatteo (right) pause to discuss the museum’s compelling exhibits and various 1:1 scale militaria they’d seen. (Photo: Carl Farrell)

The South Jersey Division GIjOE Club logo (Graphic: SJD)

The South Jersey Division GIjOE Club logo (Graphic: SJD)

Bottom Line: The South Jersey Division is one of the most inspiring and efficiently run local GIjOE clubs we’ve seen in a long time. It’s a relief to learn of the existence of yet another division that’s continuing to “fight the good fight” for Joe-fandom—BIG time—and that it serves the needs of its membership so well. Our sincerest thanks too, go out to Carl Farrell for providing the information and photos for this article, and our best wishes to all of the past, present and future members of the SJD. Do we think their die-hard group of GIjOE collectors would ever disband? As Joeheads and (former) New Jerseyans ourselves, we can honestly say—Fuggedaboutit!

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