ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - The New Jersey Municipal Management Association presented its 2019 Press Award to Rod Hirsch, owner and editor of TAPinto Hillsborough at its business luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel Wednesday, held during the New Jersey League of Municipalities Convention.

Hirsch was nominated for the statewide award by Hillsborough Township Administrator Anthony Ferrara. The award is "given to members of the press corps for their objectivity, consistency and commitment to factual government reporting."

Ferrara's nomination letter reads:

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""I am submitting my nomination of Mr. Rod Hirsch, editor of the TAPinto HIllsborough for the 2019 NJMMA Press Award.

"Rod is the owner and editor of the Tapinto Hillsborough and Tapinto Somerville online news sites.

"Launched in November of 2016, both websites have become the “go to” source of local news for both communities. Rod is also the former executive editor of The Reporter newspaper in Somerville and spent 30 years at the Home News Tribune as reporter, news editor and assistant managing editor.

"A graduate of Rider University, he returned to his alma mater 28 years ago where he continues to work in the classroom as an Assistant Professor of Journalism. A resident of Dunellen, NJ, Rod has been married to Maryann for 37 years and has two children, Todd and Heather, married to Roxanne and Jamey and four granddaughters – Emily, Molly, Allie and Ashley.

"Rod in a short amount of time has become a leading and respected communication source for Hillsborough Township. Rod is one of the few reporters that take the necessary time and commitment that is needed to produce consistent reporting day-in and day-out. Rod cares deeply about the local residents, businesses and local township government. No matter how big or small, Rod makes himself available to local stories/events and takes the time to understand, research and speak to the individuals to objectively and fairly report the story. In this day and age, it is refreshing that Rod’s reporting is still done the old fashion way, buy actually be present.

"The township values the collaborative relationship, which has led to the trust and confidence through sharing township news and current events. Rod has become an important part of the team in sharing critical news to the general public during emergency situations. Rod can always be counted on to attend high-profile township events and cover the story. He is an integral communication component to the township in his ability to communicate to the public why Hillsborough Township is and remains One of the Best Places to Live in America (Money Magazine).

"Rod is also a community leader who is the founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey, a broad-based volunteer organization that solicits donations and financial support from the community to help send personal care packages to US troops deployed in the Mideast and other locations overseas.

"Founded in February, 2005, the organization and thousands of volunteers throughout New Jersey have packed and shipped over 160,000 personal care packages overseas. The organization’s website, www.opshoeboxnj.org, proudly displays letters of thanks and photographs of grateful military personnel holding their gift boxes, which are loaded with a variety of food, toiletry items and letters of thanks from New Jersey residents.

"Rod and the organization have received several awards and recognitions from the VFW, US Marines, US Army, Central Jersey Navy League and other veterans’ organizations, and been featured on radio, television, in newspapers and scores of websites. Operation Shoebox New Jersey has also been honored by dozens of military units overseas, receiving certificates of thanks and American flags that have been flown over military installations throughout the Mideast.

"In December, 2011, Gov. Chris Christie, First Lady Mary Pat Christie and their New Jersey Heroes Foundation honored Rod as a “New Jersey Hero,” recognizing the dedication and determination of the organization and its volunteers. Mary Pat and her staff visited Operation Shoebox New Jersey headquarters in Hillsborough to assemble care packages for shipment overseas.

"Operation Shoebox New Jersey is an outgrowth of Rod’s Eagle Scout community project. In 1969-70, Rod organized his Scout troop and reached out to his hometown of Merrick, NY for donations and contributions. He and his troop organized a supply line of care packages that were sent to American troops in Vietnam."