As I spend this week and next thanking some of the people of Monmouth and Ocean Counties that have supported my family as well as our community, Tom Hayes deserves some thanks and recognition.

Tom Hayes, the Director of Customer and Community Relations for New Jersey Natural Gas, is the reason that Lou and I have been able to do our show live from the boardwalk in Asbury Park every Friday all summer long for the past two summers.

But Toms has become much more than a boardwalk studio sponsor. Toms has shown us the true meaning of giving back to our community. Although Lou and I have always been all about raising awareness and funds for non-profits and those in need, Tom brought that to a whole new level when he began introducing us to some amazing charities, non-profit groups, and individuals who really needed our help.

Every week in the summer, Tom introduces 3 - 6 different community groups and non-profits to our radio station boardwalk studios to meet with us so that we can help raise awareness for some amazing causes. In fact, this past fall, it is because of Tom that Lou and I hosted The Arc of Monmouth's largest annual fundraising gala, and we agreed to appearon a community TV show that Tom Hayes hosts for SCAN, an organization that aims to inform, empower, and inspire active adults in our area.

On top of all that, Tom Hayes has become a role model to me. He works tirelessly to support those in need, he volunteers much of his own time, he is well-liked and respected by his peers, he is a loyal friend, and a great husband and father. His family is beautiful inside and out. And when we are at the boardwalk each Friday morning, the greetings that Tom gets from those walking by shows just how well-loved (and well-known!) he is.

The thing about Tom is that all of this has not changed the man that he is. Tom is incredibly modest, despite all of the recognition, honors, and awards that he has received.

So, Tom, a big, giant, THANK YOU for all of the hours you put into our communities as you support business, non-profits and individuals that need to be lifted up. I am blessed to call you my friend.

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