In December 2011, First Lady Mary Pat Christie named Rod Hirsh, founder of Operation Shoebox New Jersey, as her ninth New Jersey Hero. Back then, she sent a banner of well wishes and support to the Middle East with deployed troops. Today, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Zachary R. Sanders, of Somerville, returned the placard to Mrs. Christie with a photograph of his fellow soldiers with the banner. "Operation Shoebox is such a great cause, and the fact that Zach returned to New Jersey to deliver this banner from the soldiers in Afghanistan really demonstrates how much it means to our military personnel to know they are supported on the home front," said Mrs. Christie. "We're so proud of the courage Zach and his team members have displayed in serving our nation and we are thrilled that they have safely returned to their loves ones."