Tom Hirsch of Sleepy Eye, has been deemed one of NorthStar Genetics’ Community Stars.

Tom Hirsch of Sleepy Eye, has been deemed one of NorthStar Genetics’ Community Stars, awarding him $1,000 to give to a local charity of his choice, to help him further make a difference in his community.

NorthStar Genetics’ Community Star winners are selected based on nominations of exceptional community members who have gone above and beyond to help their community or people around them thrive.

Every community needs leaders, and for some small communities, those leaders have to wear many hats. Hirsch is a leader in his community, believing that participating on the board of many of the programs and associations that are important to his community was the best way to ensure longevity.

Hirsch runs a dairy farm outside of Sleepy Eye, but also farms the land. Starting and raising a family in a rural farm setting was ideal for him, and he hopes to see that lifestyle be available for future generations.

“We have six kids, five boys and one girl. The farm was the perfect place for us to raise our family,” Hirsch said. “I want to see the community continue so it offers the same things for the future generations. That’s why we’re involved.”

Hirsch has taken community leadership volunteering to a new level. He has been volunteering on the Prairieville Township board for the last 40 years, and the Brown County Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Sleepy Eye Healthcare Foundation board, and also volunteered on the Sleepy Eye School board for 12 years. He is also a lifetime Red Cross blood donor.

“There’s always a need for people to step up and help out. As a farmer, we have ideas that need to be expressed on a lot of these boards,” said Hirsch. “We’re trying to do the best job for the people that live here.”

Hirsch and his wife, Sharon, have also been involved with their church, St. Mary’s, and have been members of the choir for over 60 years.

The thing that really excites Hirsch, though, is baseball. He played recreational baseball for 20 years and played in two state championships. Now, he has sons, grandsons, and granddaughters who have carried the baseball torch, playing in various leagues throughout the United States, making baseball-watching the favorite summer activity for Tom and Sharon.

Hirsch will be donating his prize to Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s School’s tuition assistance program.