HILLSBOROUGH – The Hillsborough Rotary has honored Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow award.

The award was presented by Rotary President John Shockley and Rotarian Dan Marulli during the V annual Christmas Packing co-hosted by the Rotary and OPSHBX NJ at the Hillsborough YMCA.

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International requires a local Rotary club to make a $1,000 donation to the Rotary’s international foundation before it can honor members of the local community.

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The award reads: “Rod Hirsch is hereby named a Paul Harris Fellow in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”

More than 800 people participated in the packing during which a milestone was reached by the non-profit volunteer organization, with care package number 100,000 assembled and packed during the event.

A total of 1,644 care packages were assembled by volunteers.

OPSHBX NJ, a statewide organization with headquarters in Hillsborough, hosts 15-20 packing events during the year with schools, civic groups, congregations, veterans groups and small businesses and corporations.

The Hillsborough Rotary is a major supporter of OPSHBX NJ, donating $6,000 towards postage for the care packages.

“It is an honor to be named a Paul Harris Fellow,” Hirsch said. “The recognition comes from a group of dedicated, hard-working men and women that continues to put service above self, all for the good of the community.

“It is a privilege to work alongside them and to work on behalf of the men and women of the United States military,” he added.

Paul Percy Harris was a Chicago attorney. He founded Rotary International in 1905.

The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

It was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships. 

Rotarians have a tradition of supporting the Foundation by honoring others.

Many other notable figures have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and Jonas Salk.  

The number of Paul Harris Fellows reached the one million mark in 2006.

Editor's Note: Rod Hirsch is the managing editor of Tap into Hillsborough