BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Rotary International District 7510 presented the Jean Harris Award to Rod Hirsch, founder and executive director of Operation Shoebox New Jersey at its Annual Assembly held at the Bridgewater Marriot Hotel.
In 1997-98, the Rotary International Board approved the creation of the Jean Harris Award which bears the name of the wife of Paul Harris, founder of Rotary International. This distinguished award honored the efforts of non-Rotarian women who have made a significant contribution to the development and progress of others in their communities.
The award has since become gender-neutral. District 7510 recognizes a non-Rotarian whose volunteer efforts have made a significant impact on the lives of others.
District 7510 includes 39 Rotary Clubs in several counties in central New Jersey. Each club has the opportunity to nominate someone from their community for the award. A committee selects one recipient each year; this marked the first time the Hillsborough Rotary had nominated someone for the honor.
Hirsch was introduced by John Shockley, president of the Hillsborough Rotary Club and Lieutenant Governor. of District 7510. The award was presented by Hillsborough Rotary member Dr. Dan Marulli.
Hirsch acknowledged the support of the Hillsborough Rotary and the efforts of thousands of volunteers who contribute their time to help collect donations and assemble care packages that are shipped to US troops deployed around the world.
“None of this happens without the efforts of our volunteers,” Hirsch said.
Operation Shoebox New Jersey, founded in 2005, has its state headquarters in Hillsborough. Since then the volunteer organization has shipped 103,950 care packages overseas containing food and toiletry items. All of the contents are donated.
The Hillsborough Rotary sponsors a Christmas packing annually in December at the Hillsborough YMCA with Operation Shoebox New Jersey; last year, the event attracted nearly 1,000 volunteers and by day’s end, 1,650 boxes had been assembled for shipment overseas.
Hirsch was honored at the December event by the Hillsborough Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow, which recognizes a non-Rotarian for their volunteer service.
Editor’s Note: Rod Hirsch is the managing editor of Tap into Hillsborough and Tap into Somerville.