Without a doubt, Bruce Springsteen deserves it. So does Bon Jovi. The Smithereens and Southside Johnny, who were inducted this year are also worthy. And so are all the other luminaries who have graced the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park throughout the years to be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

But one less famous man, Tim McLoone, is the most deserving of 'em all, and as of last night, he’s in. Put simply, Tim McLoone is an example of a great Jersey guy who knows how to give back. If his name sounds familiar to you, it’s because he IS, for all intents and purposes, “Mr. New Jersey”.

Many people know his name from the many restaurants that he owns across NJ (at last count there were 12). But offering employment opportunities and bringing fine dining to the state isn’t enough for Tim McLoone. He has dedicated his life to helping those need.

Perhaps you know him from Holiday Express, the organization he founded which, under his direction, and through the kindness of thousands of musician volunteers over the years has provided concerts, food and smiles to people who need it most during the holiday season—those in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers and the like.

That would probably be enough for the average Jerseyan to accomplish, but McLoone is no average guy. A former track star who ran for Harvard (he was named as an All-American there), McLoone has also covered sports as announcer for events such as the Olympics and the New York Marathon.

He’s also the arena announcer for both the both the NJ Nets and the Seton Hall Men’s basketball teams at the Prudential Center, as well as serving as its director of game operations. Oh, and just to really fill up his calendar, Tim also coaches the Rumson-Fair Haven High school cross country team.

It’s safe to say, though, that McLoone’s real love is music. He manages to fit in gigs with his own band Tim McLoone and the Shirleys on weekends.

Tim McLoone is a legend. He’s the kind of guy that you really want representing our state. An example of the best of the best of New Jersey. And throughout his many years of living in and loving New Jersey, Tim McLoone has certainly proven that it doesn’t take a stack of gold records to make New Jersey proud. It takes a heart of gold.

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