NCRF: Getting to know NCRF’s Major Gifts donors

In 2015, the National Court Reporters Foundation initiated a new program to allow people interested in the court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions the opportunity to support several programs devoted to maintaining and promoting those professions and aiding students and new professionals through several educational initiatives. NCRF currently maintains several programs to promote court reporting and captioning. Two prominent programs are the Legal Education Program and the Oral Histories Program, which both help practitioners showcase their unique skills to clients and the public. Other favorites support the growth of students and new professionals in the field, such as the Student Initiatives Program and the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute.

NCRA’s Major Gifts donors saw a benefit to supporting NCRF and its many programs. The JCR invited those eight donors to explain why they decided to support NCRF and what they see for the future of the profession.


Platinum Donor ($50,000+)

Headshot of an NCRF Major Gifts donor: a man in a suit in front of an office window with an urban background

Adam Friend

Veritext
Adam Friend
Senior Vice President, Business Development

Why did you decide to donate to NCRF?

As a company we had decided that we wanted to support the industry in a major way, particularly in support of investing in the long-term prosperity of our profession. In my discussions with Jan Ballman, FAPR, RPR, CMRS [then chair of the Foundation], I learned that the NCRF was looking to launch the Major Gifts Program. We thought that making a meaningful donation as part of this program would not only have a major positive impact on our industry, but also be publicized in a way to encourage others to contribute, which would amplify the effect of our gift.

How do you think that donating to NCRF helps the profession?

The NCRF has a noble mission with passionate and influential individuals dedicated to the long-term prosperity of our industry, as well as acting in a charitable way to support beautiful projects. The Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, in its support of student recruitment and development, addresses a mission-critical need of our industry: educating the next generation of reporters who will be the future of the industry. The Student Initiatives Program similarly supports student engagement and development. Other programs such as the Oral Histories Program generally promote the visibility and reputation of the industry and the important role it plays in the legal system.

What would you tell other people about NCRF, and why they too should support it?

The court reporting industry has provided a livelihood and prosperity for many people, including reporters, business owners, and the staff they employ. Veritext believes that it is not only in our interest to promote the future of our profession, but also our duty to give back in gratitude and provide the opportunities for those generations that follow similar opportunities to build careers and thrive in this great profession.

What do you see as the future of the profession?

Stenographic reporting is an amazing skill and special talent that has always been and will continue to be valued by courts, litigators, the CART and captioning community, and others. While technology should continue to enhance the efficiency and quality of the process of converting the spoken word into the written one, the human element is and will always be central. We believe that the future is bright but we collectively should invest in ensuring that there are enough reporters to meet expected demand.


Silver Donors ($5,000+)

Headshot of an NCRF Major Gifts donor: a black and white image of a woman in professional attire

Jan Ballman

Jan Ballman, FAPR, RPR, CMRS
Paradigm Reporting & Captioning
Minneapolis, Minn.

As past chair and long-time supporter of NCRF, have you gained any more insight into NCRF and its purpose than you had before your service?

Serving on the Board of Trustees of NCRF was an amazing experience that opened my eyes even more to the good work of the Foundation. To know the Foundation is to love the Foundation! The more I saw firsthand the impact their programs had on our profession, the more I was driven to support NCRF at a higher level.

Do you have a favorite NCRF program?

My very favorite NCRF initiative is the Veterans History Project (VHP). This year, my firm will host its 8th Annual VHP Day. We held our first one in conjunction with my first year of service on the NCRF Board, and there was just no question that it would become an annual event. I now refer to it as “my favorite day of the year at Paradigm.” To participate in capturing veterans’ service stories for the Library of Congress as a way of honoring them for their service to our country is an amazingly meaningful opportunity!

Headshot of an NCRF Major Gifts donor: A woman in professional attire

Paula Behmke

Paula Behmke, RPR
San Francisco, Calif.

What motivated you to become a Major Gifts Donor?

We have to look to ourselves — the reporter and firm — to ensure the viability of our time-honored profession. The NCRF fills this need by its philanthropic endeavors.

There are many times that I’ve left an NCRA event meaning to make a donation when I returned home, but kept putting it aside. This year I made sure I followed through and am happy with the decision of giving back!

What value does NCRF hold for you?

For me, NCRF exemplifies integrity, collaboration, and dedication. As the charity arm for the profession, the Foundation helps us by providing programs that raise our profile, such as the Legal Education program, which helps court reporters explain what we do for our clients and the importance of our integrity in preserving the record. I believe that by working together with the Foundation, we can do great things.

Photo of NCRF Major Gifts donors: A man and a woman dressed as tourists are up close and personal with a koala in a tree

Jeffrey and Debra Cheyne

Debra K. Cheyne, CSR, M.A., and Jeffrey M. Cheyne
Sherwood, Ore.

As a long-time supporter of NCRF, what drew you to the Major Gifts program?

The desire to promote the welfare of others drew me to NCRF’s Major Gifts program, an opportunity to make a positive contribution for the betterment of our profession, the professional court reporters, captioners, CART and broadcast captioners, and students that NCRF programs support.

The Greek word “philanthropy” literally means “love of humanity,” and it is an honor to be a donor to a foundation whose mission and philanthropic programs exemplify the very meaning of the word.

How do you want NCRF’s programs to help the future of the profession?

NCRF programs help ensure that our profession as guardians of the record remains vital. The Foundation works in conjunction with NCRA to support court reporting students, both through the NCRA student membership oral history transcription program and various scholarships awarded annually to aspiring students and new professional court reporters.

The adage “It is better to give than receive” takes on a special meaning with NCRF, for by giving to the Foundation’s programs, I receive the gift of promoting our realtime profession. Now that’s a major gift!

Photo of an NCRF Major Gifts donor: A husband and wife in formal dress -- as if for a wedding -- gaze at each other

Robert and Mary Fabrize

Robert O. Fabrize
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Your donation was in memory of your wife. Can you tell us a little bit about her?

I met Mary Geus Anderson Fabrize in 1950, about the same time I met my first wife, Val. They were great friends. Val and Mary had studied together to be court reporters. Val and I stayed in touch with Mary and her family over the years. Mary and I both lost our spouses. Our long-time friendship brought us together, and we got married.

Mary had worked in federal courts, but after a stroke in 1984, she retired from reporting and began her teaching career, which she loved.

What made you want to commemorate her with a Major Gifts donation?

Teaching was tremendous for Mary. Because of her 36 years as a working reporter, she felt she could be a better teacher and provide a more in-depth perspective to her students.

NCRF has supported students in many ways over the years, and so now, my support of NCRF means that Mary can continue to support court reporting students into the future.

Headshot of an NCRF Major Gifts donor: a woman in profressional attire poses in front of a studio background

Nancy Hopp

Nancy Hopp, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CMRS
St. Louis, Mo.

As current chair of NCRF, what would you share about the Foundation and why you became a Major Gifts donor?

I’ve always been proud of NCRF’s work, especially the Veterans History Project.  My father was a WWII veteran, and his wartime experiences stayed with him to his deathbed. It is of paramount importance to preserve these first-person legacies.

What I did not know before being NCRF chair was how this project benefited the reporting community. Last year, a few other reporters and I interviewed veterans on Purple Heart Day, and we garnered more than $250,000 in free media coverage. NCRF’s careful stewardship and savvy leveraging of donations inspired me to step up from the Angel level to being a Major Gift donor.

Another of my favorite NCRF programs is the Legal Education Program. NCRF offers a PowerPoint presentation on how to make a record. I’ve presented this program to law school litigation classes, bar associations, and law firms. Not only is it fun to share my “insider” knowledge, but it positions me as a subject-matter expert.

Rest assured, NCRF’s programs are carefully designed to draw positive attention to the reporting profession.  In my mind, that’s a big win-win!

Photo of NCRF Major Gifts donors: A man and a woman in professional attire stand side by side in an office

Christine Phipps and Richard Applebaum

Christine Phipps, RPR, and Richard Applebaum, RMR
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Christine Phipps responded to the questions for herself and Richard Applebaum.

What motivated you to become a Major Gifts Donor? 

I had been so blessed in my career that it was important to me to not just take from it, but to give back. I had a duty and responsibility to take part in ensuring its future for others, so they too can make their dreams come true and provide for their families. The thing is, I set out to give and ended up getting so much more, not only professionally but innumerable life lessons from others. I keep trying to give and do more, and yet I still feel like I am getting more than I am giving. So that’s why I decided to make a Major Gifts donation. I also wanted to make a very clear statement that I support our Foundation.

What value does NCRF hold for you? 

NCRF is the true charity arm of NCRA.  It is my hope that others will step forward and make major gifts to NCRF so that we can broaden the scope of programs we offer, perhaps even provide financial support to our students in lieu of the government funding that gives our industry so many problems due to the disconnect between learning a subject and becoming proficient in a skill.

Photo of an NCRF Major Gifts donor: A smiling woman faces the camera

B.J. Shorak

B.J. Shorak
Vienna, Va.

Why did you decide to donate to NCRF?

NCRF has been a huge part of my life for almost three decades, and it has afforded me so many opportunities and has given me rewards beyond measure. It’s a huge part of who I am. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people along the way, and my life is truly much richer for the experience.

For these and many other reasons, I wanted to show my appreciation though a Major Gifts donation.

In your position as NCRF’s Deputy Executive Director, you have a unique perspective of the court reporting, captioning, and related professions. How do you think that NCRF will help the profession flourish in the future?

NCRF’s role is mandated by its Articles of Incorporation.  Simply put, NCRF exists to support NCRA’s mission and goals through education and research.  Since its creation in 1980, and since it became autonomous in 1992, NCRF’s leadership has always developed its vision and programs to support NCRA.  We develop our programs based on NCRA’s strategic goals, and we will continue to do that.


Supporting NCRF is like an investment in your future.  The Foundation constantly seeks to create programs of significance to the profession. To do so, it needs the support and generosity of donors like the ones interviewed here.

Consider including the NCRF Major Gifts Program as you plan your budget for next year. More information on the many benefits of becoming a Major Gifts donor is available at NCRA.org/NCRF, or contact NCRF’s Deputy Executive Director B. J. Shorak by email at bjshorak@ncra.org or  by phone at 703-584-9026.

WCRA honors NCRA President Chris Willette through NCRF donation

In August, the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association (WCRA) honored Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, on becoming NCRA’s 2017-2018 President through a generous Thoughtful Tribute donation to the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF). Willette, who was installed as NCRA President in August during the Association’s Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., is from Wausau, Wis., and is a past president of WCRA.

“WCRA made a donation in honor of Chris Willette’s NCRA presidency to help promote all the wonderful things that NCRF does for our national association, such as the Corrine Clark Professionalism Institute, the Legal Education Program, the Oral Histories Program, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project, and the Angels Program,” said Sheri L. Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Green Bay and current president of WCRA.

“Chris Willette has a longstanding history of giving back to our profession on both the state and national levels. WCRA wanted to acknowledge those accomplishments in a way that will continue those efforts as Chris has demonstrated countless times,” she added.

NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes program provides donors the opportunity to honor important people in their lives, whether personal or professional.

For all donations received, no matter the amount, NCRF sends an acknowledgment of each gift to the honoree(s) directly or to the person’s family, as appropriate. For donations of $250 or more, the names of both the donor and the honoree are listed on NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes website and appear on a plaque displayed at NCRA headquarters. All donations to the fund are 100 percent tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

For more information or to donate, contact B. J. Shorak, NCRF Deputy Executive Director, at bjshorak@ncra.org, or call 800-272-6272.

What can you do in a month to earn CEUs?

A middle-aged white woman listens attentively during a workshop while taking notes.The Sept. 30 deadline for this year’s CEU cycle is coming up quickly, but there’s still time to earn a few more last-minute credits, both in person and online. Even if your CEU cycle isn’t ending this year, these ideas can help you stay on track and possibly even get that requirement done early.

Attend a webinar or e-seminar

Webinars and e-seminars are a great way to learn some new skills in the comfort of your own home and, in terms of e-seminars, on your own schedule. There are three 90-minute live webinars scheduled for this September:

If none of these webinars fit your schedule, check out the NCRA e-seminar library for 60- and 90-minute sessions on topics that include business, CART and captioning, ethics, grammar and language, history, official reporting, personal development, realtime, technology, and more.

Attend a pre-approved event, including state association conferences

Many state associations and other court reporter–related organizations are hosting conferences and seminars in September. In-person events give you the opportunity to network with other reporters and captioners while earning CEUs. Most events are one to three days, and several of them are in the first half of the month. Events are scheduled in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana/Wyoming/Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as Alberta, Canada, this month. Check out the full calendar of pre-approved events here, which includes the dates, location (geographic or online), and number of CEUs.

Learn CPR or first aid

The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and other organizations often host seminars on CPR or first aid. Perhaps you can organize a few colleagues from your firm, court, or even your local area to team up for an event nearby. Court reporters and captioners have to be prepared for anything, so why not add safety to your list of skills? Learn more about the requirements for earning CEUs by learning CPR or first aid on NCRA.org/WaysToEarn.

Transcribe oral histories

Members who participate in the Oral Histories Program through the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) may earn Professional Development Credits for their time. Members can apply up to 1.0 PDC to their CEU requirement per cycle. Transcribe a 30- to 90-minute pre-recorded interview of an American veteran, Holocaust survivor, or attorney who has provided pro bono services through Legal Aid. Many people find participating in the Oral Histories Program to be especially rewarding. “As court reporters, we sometimes are too focused on the financial side of what we do, but (volunteering) is giving back. Anyone thinking of participating in one of these events should just jump right in and do it. It’s well worth it,” said Kimberly Xavier, RDR, CRR, CRC, CMRS, CRI, an official court reporter from Arlington, Texas, and a U.S. Air Force veteran, who recently volunteered at NCRF’s third Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative at the 86th Military Order of the Purple Heart 2017 Convention held in Dallas. Learn more at NCRA.org/NCRF/OralHistories.

Get credit for past events

You may have already participated in activities that have helped you earn CEUs or PDCs during the last year, and the only thing you need to do is fill out the proper form to get credit. If you promoted the profession at a career fair, law school, or other event; provided pro bono services; served on a state association board or committee (including the United States Court Reporting Association); or participated in a formal mentoring program, you may qualify for credit for your volunteerism. You can submit these CEUs and PDCs here.

Cycle extensions

If you need a four-month cycle extension (to Jan. 31) to finish those last CEUs, you can fill out the CEU extension request form by Sept. 30. Note that the deadline to complete CEUs or to request an extension is the same date.

View the full list of qualified continuing education activities at NCRA.org/WaysToEarn. View other continuing education forms here or view your current transcript here. If you have any questions, please contact the NCRA credentialing coordinator.

NCRA member wins Cabo trip for supporting the National Court Reporters Foundation

Kim Neeson, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a reporter and firm owner from Toronto, Canada, won the drawing for a stay at the Villa Del Palmar in Cabo San Lucas for pledging her support of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) as an Angel. 2018 Angels who pledged before Aug. 30 were eligible for the drawing for the trip, which was generously donated by Denise Paternoster, RPR, an official from Staten Island, N.Y., in loving memory of her husband, Frank Paternoster.

Frank “was my biggest fan as far as my career and attended the Annual Convention with me from 1981 till his death in 2014,” said Paternoster.

The fundraiser debuted before the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, and the winner was announced on Facebook Live on NCRA’s Facebook page at 3 p.m. ET on Aug. 31. This is the fourth year that Neeson has pledged as an NCRF Angel.

“While there are many ways we can support our profession and, by extension, our association, becoming an Angel is an important way to provide the tangible funds to support NCRF’s many court reporting and captioning initiatives, including student support, championing technology, and creating programs, like recording the Veteran and Holocaust Survivor stories for preservation,” said Neeson. “I’m so proud to be part of an organization that supports our future but preserves our past. To win the trip to Cabo was simply the icing on the cake!”

Angels donate a minimum of $1,000 within a year to support NCRF’s initiatives, including the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, the Legal Education Program, the Oral Histories Program, and scholarships and awards. Angels receive special recognition for their support on NCRF’s website, at the NCRA Convention & Expo and the NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference, and in an annual ad in the NCRA’s Journal of Court Reporting.

If you would like to become a 2018 Angel, please contact April Weiner, NCRF Foundation Manager, or call 800-272-NCRA (6272).

NCRF Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project captures Purple Heart recipients’ stories

Two women, one holding a plaque in the shape of a scroll, stand in front of a banner reading "America's Combat Wounded Veterans -- Purple Heart Recipients." The wording is wrapped around an image of the Purple Heart medal in front of a bald eagle whose wings turn into the American flag.

April Weiner and Nancy Hopp accepted a plaque on behalf of NCRF from the Military Order of the Purple Heart

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) hosted a third Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative on Aug. 14 at the 86th Military of Order of Purple Heart (MOPH) 2017 Convention held in Dallas, Texas. Volunteer court reporters and captioners from the Texas Court Reporters Association were joined by a number of volunteer interviewers including NCRF Chair Nancy Hopp, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRMS, from St. Louis, Mo., to help chronicle the service experiences of nine veterans from a number of different military branches and different wars, which will be transcribed for the U.S. Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP).

The event was also featured in two segments that aired on KDFW-DAL Fox 4 News.

“I’m proud of the work court reporters and captioners have done to preserve veterans’ stories,” said Hopp during a presentation to attendees at the MOPH event. “We owe it to you brave men and women to make sure your stories live on for the benefit of your families, historians, and the American people.”

In her remarks, Hopp shared that her own father was drafted in the infantry in his late 20s and served in Europe during World War II. He received the Purple Heart for injuries sustained during his active service.

“Over the course of his life, my dad would tell us isolated anecdotes from his wartime experiences. In 1998, when he was 83 years old and on his deathbed, I flew to Florida to visit him in the hospital. When I arrived, he took off his oxygen mask, and he proceeded to knit together all those little war stories he had shared over the years into one compelling and poignant narrative of his experience,” Hopp said.

Noting that her father’s story was an amazing tale of terror, courage, and, most of all, a strong sense of duty, Hopp added that she was struck at the time by how he would not let himself die until he had a chance to unburden himself of experiences he had had 50 years earlier.

Back view of a conference room with a seated audience -- mostly men and some wearing commemorative military service hats. A woman stands at the podium in the front of the room. On the projector is a black and white photographer of a smiling young man in uniform, probably circa the 1940s

Nancy Hopp shares a few words about her father (pictured) at the Military Order of the Purple Heart convention

“I so wish I could have preserved his story both for posterity and as evidence of the personal sacrifices he made,” said Hopp as she encouraged those in the audience to share their stories for the Library of Congress program.

NCRF’s work promoting VHP programs like the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes initiative is important because it helps veterans who have never spoken of their service share their stories, said Kimberly Xavier, RDR, CRR, CRC, CMRS, CRI, an official court reporter from Arlington, Texas, and a U.S. Air Force veteran, who volunteered at the MOPH event.

“As court reporters, we sometimes are too focused on the financial side of what we do, but (volunteering) is giving back. Anyone thinking of participating in one of these events should just jump right in and do it. It’s well worth it,” added Xavier.

For volunteer interviewer Mark Kiernan, from The Colony, Texas, participating in the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes event was extremely gratifying especially since his own son was wounded during service in Afghanistan. He attended the event with his wife, Therese Casterline Kiernan, RMR, CRR, a freelance court reporter who volunteered to capture the stories of the veterans he interviewed.

“I would absolutely do this again. I think it is important that people learn and understand how much those who seserve — and their families, too — sacrifice. When my son was injured, the first person I saw in the hospital said to me that everyone now needs to learn a new normal. Hearing a veteran’s story could be the learning experience of a lifetime,” added Kiernan.

Other court reporters, captioners, and interviewers from Texas who volunteered their time to support the NCRF event included:

  • Kacie Adcock, RPR, CRR, CRC, a broadcast and CART captioner from Arlington, and her husband, Ryan
  • Mellony Ariail, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Corinth
  • Jennifer Collins, a captioner from Fort Worth
  • Terra Gentry, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter from Rockwall
  • Lisa Hundt, RPR, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Dallas
  • Brynna Kelley, RPR, CRR, a broadcast captioner from Dallas
  • Brian Roberts (interviewer)
  • Vicki Smith, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Lewisville
  • Vonda Treat (interviewer)
  • Kathleen Ullrich, RPR, CRR, a CART captioner from Seguin
Four people sit around a table -- two are in coversation while the other two write the conversation on a steno machine and provide captioning

(l->r) Kimberly Xavier records an oral history while Nancy Hopp asks veteran Benny Duett questions and Jennifer Collins provides CART.

The veterans interviewed included:

  • Richard Chenone, New Berlin, Wis., who served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals for his service.
  • Benny Duett, Meridian, Miss., who served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam and earned the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Campaign, and the Vietnam Service medals for his service.
  • James Gordon, Stone Mountain, Ga., who served as an E6 in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and earned the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the National Defense, the Vietnam Service, and the Vietnam Campaign medals for his service.
  • Bill Grumlett, San Antonio, Texas, who served as a captain in the U.S. Army in Korea and Vietnam and earned the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Service, and the Korea Service medals for his service.
  • Robert Hunt, Cordova, Tenn., an E5 (sergeant) in the U.S. Army who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and earned two Purple Heart medals for his service. Hunt was accompanied by his golden retriever service dog, Baron, during his interview.
  • Kevin Hynes, New Bern, N.C., a captain in the U.S. Air Force who served in Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Airman’s Medal, two Bronze Stars, and an Air Medal for his service.
  • Robert Lance, location not given, who served as a sergeant major E9 in the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea and Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart medal for his service.
  • Leonard Lang, Blanchard, Okla., an E5 in the U.S. Army who served in Korea and Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star medal for his service.
  • Bobby McNeill, Charlotte, N.C., who served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam and earned the Purple Heart, National Defense Service, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign with Device, and Meritorious Mast medals for his service.

NCRF’s Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative specifically seeks to interview veterans with hearing loss with the help of CART captioning. Hearing loss is among the most common service-related injuries due to constant exposure to loud noises in training and in combat, and it tends to worsen over time. In addition to preserving these veterans’ stories for the VHP, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project introduces CART captioning, which is a service that may benefit these veterans in their daily lives.

NCRF launched the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md., in February, where five veterans with varying degrees of hearing loss chronicled their service experiences. In June, seven veterans were interviewed during the 2017 Hearing Loss Association of America’s Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. NCRF is seeking volunteers to participate at a fourth event in October during the Association of Late-Deafened Adults conference being held in Orlando, Fla.

NCRA members have been listening and taking down veterans’ stories since NCRF partnered with the Library of Congress in 2003 to have court reporters transcribe veterans’ stories from their collection of now more than 100,000. In 2007, members were asked to preserve the stories of veterans who hadn’t yet recorded their histories through personal interviews and VHP Days. To date, NCRF has submitted more than 4,100 transcripts to the Library of Congress.

NCRF’s Hard-of-Hearing Heroes initiative is supported by an Innovation Grant from the American Society of Association Executives Foundation. For more information, please visit NCRA.org/NCRF, or contact April Weiner, Foundation Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.

New NCRF Trustees inducted

The National Court Reporters Foundation’s newly elected Trustees began their three-year terms on Aug. 12 after being inducted into service at the Foundation’s annual Board of Trustees meeting taking place in conjunction with the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

The following individuals were elected to serve on the 2017-2018 NCRF Board of Trustees: Danielle Griffin, RPR, Phoenix, Ariz.; Karen G. Teig, RPR, CRR, CMRS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, Lotus, Calif.

Danielle Griffin represents the future of the profession and can aid NCRF in its continued focus on helping students finish court reporting school and new reporters acquire the opportunities to thrive in the profession. She grew up in the court reporting field, working in her mother’s firm in Phoenix from the time she was in middle school, an experience that gives her more in-depth understanding of the business and profession than the average new reporter. As a new reporter with diverse experience and contacts, Griffin commits fully to everything she does. Griffin comes from a culture of volunteerism and strong fundraising experience and understands the value of networking and using those contacts to help make whatever she’s tasked with successful.

Karen Teig has extensive experience volunteering and serving on boards in both her personal or professional life, and she has had specific training on how to advocate for a philanthropic project. This has given her a thorough understanding of what it takes to be both a worker and a leader. She has served on numerous state and national committees; is a past state and national board member; and is past president of her state association. Teig has a true spirit of giving back and has been a long-time supporter of NCRF, whether promoting NCRF during state rep visits, transcribing histories for the VHP program, helping raise funds through her service on the Angels Drive Committee, or donating to NCRF through the Angels program.

Sandy VanderPol is a committed volunteer who has contributed extensively to the profession by writing articles, giving presentations, and serving on many court reporting association committees and boards. She has strong leadership experience, having been president of both her local and state court reporting associations. VanderPol’s accomplishments are well known as the recipient of NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award, and she is highly respected within the NCRA membership for her work ethic, ability to think outside the box, and intimate knowledge of and passion for the profession.

The new Trustees will be joining NCRF Chair Nancy Hopp, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRMS, St. Louis, Mo.; Secretary Debra Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah; Debra K. Cheyne, M.A., CSR, Sherwood, Ore.; Jane Fitzgerald, RMR, Pleasant Hill, Iowa; Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, Battle Creek, Mich.; Cregg Seymour, Baltimore, Md.; and Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, Worcester, Mass.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

Rosalie Kramm honored with the 2017 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism

Rosalie Kramm receives NCRF altruism award

Rosalie Kramm receives NCRF altruism award

The National Court Reporters Foundation recognized long-time NCRA member Rosalie Kramm, RPR, CRR, San Diego, Calif., with the 2017 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism. The award was presented to Kramm during the Awards Luncheon on Aug. 12 at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, held in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Santo J. Aurelio Award is given to a working court reporter with more than 25 years of experience who has given back to the profession and to the court reporting community with no expectation of any reward.

Kramm began her career as a court reporter in 1981 working for Robinson & Vint Court Reporters. In 1985, she opened Kramm Court Reporting. According to comments submitted by those who nominated her, Kramm is regarding in the profession for her professionalism, willingness to help, and love of promoting the profession.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

There’s lots of fun to be had at the NCRA and NCRF booths

PAC and NCRF booths_croppedBe sure to stop by the NCRA membership, NCRA government relations, and the NCRF booths at the 2017 Convention & Expo and take advantage of savings, grab some giveaways, and learn how you can support the court reporting and captioning professions. All three booths will be located at the host hotel, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., on the Mezzanine Level during the Aug. 10-13 event. Below is a sneak peek at what visitors can expect.

At the NCRA membership booth:

  • Take advantage of savings and special offers from more than a dozen carefully selected industry-leading partners from the NCRA Saving Center, the Association’s official member benefits resource
  • Receive an exclusive discount code for NCRA Convention & Expo participants for 20 percent off everything in the NCRA Store
  • Help your personal brand thrive with resources developed specifically to promote court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers
  • Learn about the A-to-Z program and how you can bring it to your area
  • Sign up to do career fairs for high school and middle school students with materials provided by NCRA
  • Sign up to join the Virtual Mentor Program as a mentor or mentee
  • Pick up an NCRA membership brochure to bring home to a colleague
  • Give a video testimonial about why you love court reporting, captioning, and/or legal videography
  • Get a free professional headshot to use for publicity and the NCRA Online Sourcebook
  • Check out this year’s free giveaways
  • And more

At the NCRA government affairs booth:

  • Contribute to NCRA’s Political Action Committee and be automatically entered to win a Fire HD tablet. Help raise $5,000 in PAC contributions and watch 2017-2018 NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Immediate Past President Nativa P. Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, sing karaoke at the President’s Party
  • Learn more about programs and resources available to train volunteer leadership
  • Find out the latest about legislative and regulatory issues at the federal and state levels
  • Check out this year’s cool giveaways
  • And more

At the NCRF booth:

  • Purchase this year’s official Convention pin, featuring a Magic at Your Fingertips design
  • Pick up official pins from previous Conventions to complete your collection
  • Take a chance to win a one-of-a-kind magically designed Luminex generously donated by Stenograph. Raffle tickets cost $50 each or three for $125
  • Pledge as a 2018 Angel and be entered into a drawing for a week-long stay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the Villa Del Palmar resort, generously donated by Denise Paternoster, RPR, in loving memory of her husband, Frank Paternoster
  • Be part of Convention history and sign the official Convention register
  • And more

NCRA members reflect on transcribing oral histories from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

An elderly man is in the middle of speaking. He sits in front of a German newspaper projected behind him.

U.S. Dept. of Defense photo by Marvin Lynchard

Nearly 20 years ago, Michelle Keegan, RMR, CRR, of Quincy, Mass., and her husband visited the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. It was an unforgettable experience.

“There was very little talking amongst all of us tourists as we walked around the camp that day,” Keegan said. “Everybody seemed to keep looking at one another hoping that somebody would speak up and make sense of it all. Nobody did. On the bus ride back to the city, there was no light chatter. People were too overwhelmed.”

Years later, Keegan transcribed the account of one of the American soldiers whose battalion liberated Dachau.

“There were about 17,000 people still [in the camp] when they arrived,” Keegan said. “The horrific things that he relayed about some of the surroundings were what we had seen on our tour. He recounted that the battalion that had moved into the camp before his had been very overcome with emotion. He relayed about the soldiers, ‘They were so upset about what they saw that they actually lined up about 40 or 50 of these Nazi guards and just mowed them down with machine guns.’”

Transcribing this interview was part of the National Court Reporters Foundation’s (NCRF) agreement with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to have NCRA members preserve oral records from the museum’s collections. Since 2014, NCRA members have transcribed parts of more than 100 interviews from the museum’s collection of more than 200,000 records.

Hearing these eyewitnesses’ first-hand accounts puts a different perspective on what is taught in school and from history books.

“The most meaningful part of transcribing these interviews was actually becoming immersed into their life story as they’re describing the events that had happened to them,” said Megan Orris, RPR, an official from Beaver Springs, Pa. “The part of the interview I had to transcribe dealt with what this man endured right before he was liberated and then following his immigration to America and the life he had here. It was very interesting to listen to a real-life story and not something from a history textbook. It gave me a whole new perspective on life and being appreciative that I never had to go through what this man and others had during the Holocaust.”

Transcribing survivors’ accounts is a way to honor the victims, says Karen Shelton, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Fort Worth, Texas.

“I have read the stories of Holocaust survivors for years and have visited Holocaust memorials in several places and have always found them deeply moving.  When the opportunity arose to transcribe the oral histories of survivors, I knew it was something I wanted to participate in.  As much as I have learned from educating myself about the history of that time and the plight of so many victims, I felt that transcribing some of their stories was something tangible I could do to honor their memories and to provide a written record for future generations to read,” Shelton said.

Some reporters who have never transcribed an interview of a Holocaust survivor may be hesitant to do so for emotional reasons.

“I was very anxious when I hit the play button on my first Holocaust interview. Would I be able to contain my emotion and get through whatever story I was going to hear?” Keegan said. “Just like in a deposition, I automatically switched into court reporter mode and listened for the words rather than the content the best that I could.”

Keegan and many other reporters are happy to have participated.

“I cannot fully express the gratitude that I have to be able to be a part of transcribing these stories.  I am humbled by the strength and courage of these men and women who sit and recount their stories so that the rest of us may understand this part of our history. The overwhelming appreciation that I have always had for the men and women of our Armed Forces has been strengthened by these interviews. In just a very tiny way, I feel that I have helped to preserve the stories of all of these people,” Keegan said.

Orris concurs: “Another meaningful part of transcribing these interviews was preserving their story. I think that has a whole new meaning in itself that we as reporters get to transcribe these stories, and they’re saved forever in the archives for people to read years from now. It gives you a special feeling to be able to have done something like this.”

For more information on NCRF’s Oral Histories Program and to get involved, visit NCRA.org/NCRF/OralHistories, or contact April Weiner, Foundation Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.

NCRF hosts a second Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Veterans History Project

The National Court Reporters Foundation hosted a second Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative on June 23 at the 2017 Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Convention held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Volunteer court reporters, captioners, and interviewers turned out to help chronicle the service experiences of seven veterans, which will be transcribed for the U.S. Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP).

Four people sit around a table in a hotel conference room. Two women, in the back, are concentrating intently (while transcribing). In the foreground, two men are in conversation. The man on the right has war injuries, primarily seen on his face.

Retired Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris (front right), who received life threatening injuries while serving in Iraq, is interviewed by retired Lt. Lynn Hinckley (front left). Cecilee G. Wilson (back right) provides CART while Amber Fraass (back left) transcribes.

Among those interviewed was HLAA convention keynote speaker retired Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris, who served in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He suffered severe third degree burns on 35 percent of his body after his armored vehicle was struck by an IED in February 2007.

Harris’s injuries also included the loss of both ears, the tip of his nose, three fingers, and numerous broken bones. The devastating injuries required that he remain in a medically induced coma for 48 days; after, he spent nearly three years recovering and undergoing intensive physical therapy at the burn unit of the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. Harris received numerous awards for his service including a Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal three times.

While at BAMC, he was the first soldier to participate in cutting-edge regenerative stem-cell research to regrow his fingers and later received prosthetic ears. His recovery has involved more than 75 surgeries. He also has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. In 2010, Harris was medically retired from the Army. He is now a motivational speaker and author of Steel Will: My Journey through Hell to Become the Man I Was Meant to Be.

“If it isn’t written down, it did not happen,” said retired Lt. Lynn Hinckley, who served 26 years with the U.S. Army National Guard and volunteered to interview Harris. “My personal takeaway is that stories are important and allow us to pass on our heritage. Personal stories are just that, personal; they carry a power that nothing else can match,”

Hinckley also had the opportunity to interview Randal “Randy” Nelson, a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served during both Gulf Wars including deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nelson earned many awards over the course of his service, including two Bronze Stars and three Legion of Merit awards. Originally from South Dakota, Nelson now resides in North Carolina. During his interview he shared how he lost his hearing in his left ear during a Jet Ski accident, but was allowed to continue his military career by overcoming balance issues and learning to rely on his right ear.

During the interviews, the two veterans were able to connect having both served in the same locations in Iraq, a connection that appeared to help the interviewer and interviewee draw upon a camaraderie that is inherent among veterans.

Four people sit around a table in a hotel conference room. In the back is a middle-aged woman concentrating while transcribing on a steno machine. On the left and right are two men -- one younger, one older, in conversation. In the foreground is the back of a yong woman; her steno machine is in front of her and a laptop is on the table with the spoken words appearing on the screen in real time.

Retired Marine Corp combat veteran Don Doherty (left) is interviewed by Patrick Holkins (right). Amber Fraass transcribes (middle), while Phoebe Moorhead (far right) provides CART.

“This project provides an opportunity for nonveterans to get a feel for what military life is like. This is information that would have died with the veteran if not for this project,” said Hinckley.

Other veterans interviewed during the event included:

  • Don Doherty, a retired Marine Corps combat veteran, who lost his hearing during the Vietnam War and has worn hearing aids since 1970. Over the course of his service, Doherty earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation. He has worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for more than 20 years and currently serves as the vice-chairperson for HLAA. He resides in Moyock, N.C., and was interviewed by fellow HLAA board member Patrick Holkins, an attorney from Washington, D.C.
  • Mike Wehman, a Radioman 2nd Class and Shellback, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He served on the Charles S. Sperry destroyer ship, the Wright communications ship, and the Benewah – floating command center in the Mekong Delta. Wehman earned the Vietnam Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal. He resides in Des Plaines, Ill.
  • Retired Lt. Commander Ron Tallman, who served 22 years in the U.S. Navy. He served during the Vietnam and first Gulf War and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal, among others He is a board member of the Sun Lakes, Ariz., HLAA chapter and co-chair for the Arizona Walk4Hearing. He is originally from Seattle, Wash., and resides in Arizona.
  • Gerald “Jerry” Hutch, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War/pre-Vietnam era as an Airman 1st Class E-4. He was born in McKees Rocks, Pa., and served his entire tour of duty in Texas. He currently resides in Helena, Mont. Hutch is legally blind due to age-related macular degeneration has severe hearing loss in both ears, and uses digital hearing aids.
  • Louis Shaup, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War as an SP4 and E-4. He served in the Military Assistance Advisory Group Vietnam, conducting top-secret Army intelligence. Shaup earned several awards for his service, including the Vietnam Service Medal. He was born in Ashland, Penn., and now resides in California.

“This interview opportunity was an incredibly profound experience for me,” said Matthew R. Barusch, NCRA’s Manger of State Government Relations, who volunteered to talk with U.S. Army veteran Louis Shaup.

“The opportunity to hear a firsthand account of Louis’ wartime experience was both moving and humbling, and for me, reinforced the necessity of the Veterans History Project. These veterans, who sacrificed a lot to serve our country, deserve to have their stories heard and preserved, and I was honored to be a part of that preservation,” Barusch said.

Interviewers and captioners from Utah who also volunteered their time to support the NCRF event included NCRA members:

  • Amber Fraass, RPR, a freelance reporter from South Ogden
  • Heidi Hunter, RPR, a freelance reporter from Salt Lake City
  • Kristin E. Marchant, RPR, a freelance reporter from South Jordan
  • Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, a freelance reporter from North Ogden
  • Rossann Morgan, RPR, a freelance court reporter from West Jordan
  • Ariel Mumma, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Salt Lake City
  • Michelle Naert, RPR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner from Saratoga Springs
  • Lindsay Payeur, RPR, a freelance reporter from Grantsville
  • Laurie Shingle, RPR, CMRS, from Pleasant View
  • Cecilee G. Wilson, RDR, CRR, CRC, a broadcast captioner from Kaysville

NCRF’s Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative specifically seeks to interview veterans with hearing loss with the help of CART captioning. Hearing loss is among the most common service-related injuries due to constant exposure to loud noises in training and in combat, and it tends to worsen over time. In addition to preserving these veterans’ stories for the VHP, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project introduces CART captioning, which is a service that may benefit these veterans in their daily lives.

NCRF launched the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project at HLAA’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md., in February, where five veterans with varying degrees of hearing loss chronicled their service experiences.

NCRA members have been listening and taking down veterans’ stories since NCRF partnered with the Library of Congress in 2003 to have court reporters transcribe veterans’ stories from their collection of now more than 100,000. In 2007, members were asked to preserve the stories of veterans who hadn’t yet recorded their histories through personal interviews and VHP Days. To date, NCRF has submitted more than 4,100 transcripts to the Library of Congress.

NCRF’s Hard-of-Hearing Heroes initiative is supported by an Innovation Grant from the American Society of Association Executives Foundation. Two more Hard-of-Hearing Heroes events will take place at the Military Order of the Purple Heart National Convention being held in Dallas, Texas, in August, and at the Association of Late-Deafened Adults annual convention being held in Orlando, Fla. in October. NCRF is currently seeking volunteers to participate at both of these events. For more information, please visit NCRA.org/NCRF, or contact April Weiner, Foundation Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.