NCRF is seeking nominations for its Board of Trustees. Eligibility is open to all NCRA members in addition to members of the public. NCRF Trustees not only establish policy in pursuit of the foundation’s mission, but they also must be willing to personally donate financially and to help with the fundraising programs. This is a distinguished group of people working toward a great goal and having fun at the same time! NCRF’s Chair Merilyn Sanchez invites you to “Lead with us, and help NCRF make a difference.” The nomination form can be found online, or call NCRF at 800-272-NCRA(6272). Deadline is January 17, 2014.
A press release from Stenograph on Nov. 18 announced that Dave Wynne, senior vice president of education, will be retiring after 27 years with the company. Wynne joined Stenograph as vice president of sales in 1986 and has been instrumental to the organization’s sales strategy and marketing over the years. In addition, Wynne has played a role in Stenograph’s expansion into the education arena, establishing Stenograph University and, most recently, playing an integral role in providing quality court reporters to the industry through Prince Institute.
Wynne served on various NCRA task forces and committees and offered a number of presentations at NCRA’s annual conventions. Wynne also volunteered on the National Court Reporters Foundation’s Angels Committee and participated in many of its phone-a-thons.
The November/December issue of DAV Magazine, the official publication of the nonprofit organization Disable American Veterans, features an article by NCRA member Tracey Rae Dunlap, RMR, CRR, about the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and the support it receives from volunteer court reporters and captioners and from the National Court Reporters Foundation. Dunlap, an official court reporter for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, also includes comments from former U.S. Marine and disabled veteran Stephen Cochran, who shared his story during a VHP Day held last August that was sponsored by the NCRF. Cochran served as one of the first special troops deployed at the start of the conflict in Iraq
Dunlap, a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Post 5578, in Madison, W.Va., is also the proud daughter of a Vietnam veteran and is passionate about volunteering her time and skills to ensure American veterans’ voices are seen as well as heard.
This past March marked the 10-year anniversary of the National Court Reporter Foundation’s participation with the Veterans History Project. When celebrating an anniversary, it’s common to look back over the years and remember the milestones. With VHP, there are so many to remember. The partnership has been a huge success, thanks to all the staff and volunteers who have given many hours to coordinate the project, to interview veterans, and to transcribe their amazing stories.
To recognize the 10-year anniversary, NCRF created a Make the Promise campaign, which called on NCRA members and friends to deliver a total of 3,000 transcripts to the Library of Congress. NCRA members not only met but also exceeded the goal. To date, more than 3,020 transcriptions have been returned to the LOC since the beginning of the partnership in 2003. These years may have passed by quickly – but so much has been accomplished through VHP, a program that is filled with remarkable, moving stories of our veterans. NCRF has successfully run the project with the help of Beth Kilker, Oral Histories Program Coordinator. In addition to distributing recorded histories to the LOC, Kilker recruits new partners, creates reference materials for organizations to conduct VHP Days, and applies for grants.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
The Veterans History Project at the American Folklife Center at the LOC came to life in 2000. The mission of VHP is to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Since 2003, NCRA and NCRF have partnered with the LOC in an effort to help protect and preserve the history of U.S. veterans. Through this project, men and women who have served the United States in time of war have shared their stories – sometimes accompanied by photographs, letters, and diary entries – for generations to come.
NCRF’s partnership with the LOC took off quickly and that’s when the foundation realized it needed someone dedicated to managing the program. In 2004, NCRF convinced Kilker to come out of retirement. She had worked with the Veterans Affairs Committee for 25 years and what better choice could be made than someone who had the experience and great interest in working with veterans. “Beth has a rare passion for our nation’s veterans, and it shows every day, in every encounter she has. It was a lucky day for NCRF, and for me personally, when Beth agreed to come help the Foundation’s Veterans History Project,” says B.J. Shorak, NCRF’s Deputy Executive Director.
The Foundation staff members are not alone in their passion for the program. “As the son of a WWII veteran, father of an Iraq war veteran, and a career Army officer, it is very satisfying to see the value that we as a nation and our hundreds of volunteers nationwide put on preserving the personal remembrances of America’s veterans. VHP impacts the lives of our younger interviewers and fills a need by adding a chapter to a family’s history,” says Bob Patrick, director of VHP at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. The collections are getting great use from the public, not only to inform and instruct scholars and researchers, but to educate teachers and the public on the human experience of war.
Megan Harris, senior reference specialist for the VHP, coordinates research and access to the collection. She explains that, in addition to learning about a veteran on their website, visitors can come to the American Folklife Center reading room to see a collection in person. As an official archive, VHP requires researchers to submit reference requests seven to10 days prior to their visit in order for staff to have the ability to pull the material, which is partially kept off-site for preservation purposes. “We see PhD students, academics, genealogists, documentarians, and veterans’ family members. We also have K-12 students who use the website because they want to read eye-witness accounts for their history-related projects.” Harris mentions the LOC doesn’t transcribe any audio/video sent to them and is thrilled when they receive transcribed interviews from NCRF and original donors. “So few interviews come with transcripts. Having them makes the collection much more accessible to researchers. That’s why we’re so grateful to NCRF for the transcripts they send us.”
Patrick says that the best part is when they hear from students who never knew about a particular conflict until they were assigned a VHP interview. “We are so fortunate to hear each week of the positive impact the project has had on people’s lives. From the daughter-in-law of a WWI veteran who thanked us, because if she hadn’t sent the journal to us it would have been ruined in flooding by hurricane Rita, to a member of the public who felt like after hearing the stories of men who served in the same unit as his late father, he understood him a little better.”
Over the years, Patrick says they’ve had to shift their focus from capturing oral histories of WWI veterans to looking for other documentation of their first-person accounts. In addition to WWII and Korean veterans, they are recognizing the need to capture the stories of Vietnam veterans who are now an aging group.
COURT REPORTERS A MAJOR HELP IN MAKING PROGRAM A SUCCESS
Out of the 3,000 transcripts provided to the LOC, close to 200 have come from hard-working volunteers from the Lone Star State of Texas. Stephanie Moses, official court reporter for the 193rd District Court in Dallas, and the current President of the Texas Court Reporters Association, has played a huge role in coordinating those efforts. Moses recalls how she and Jo Anne Leger, TCRA’s 2012-13 president, had been trying to come up with a project to strengthen the relationship with the State Bar of Texas outside of the courtroom. The two thought working together to take the histories of veterans from Texas would be a great idea. “In June of 2011, TCRA was invited to attend the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, and we set up a booth. We promoted the idea to all who visited our booth, and signed up attorneys who were interested in participating in the project. The list grew and grew, and by the end of the Annual Meeting we knew this project was off to a good start.” They advertised the events through newspapers, public service announcements on the radio, and word of mouth. The veterans, attorneys, and reporters were paired up, given a time to show up, and that’s how it got started.
When asked how it feels to be part of the program, Moses says, “Every time I transcribe a veteran’s history there is a sense of obligation that comes over me for this transcript to be absolutely perfect. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of pride when doing transcripts for work, but this is just different. I picture the face of the veteran in my mind when he receives his copy in the mail, and I can see just how proud they are to be remembered, to be honored in this way for the service they have given to this country,” she says. “The VHP lets our veterans know they are an integral part of our history, and having the opportunity to know their stories will be housed in the Library of Congress is the ultimate ‘thank you’ for their service.’”
Jan Ballman, RPR, President & CEO of Paradigm Reporting & Captioning in Minneapolis, Minn., wanted to get more involved with VHP when she came on the NCRF Board as a Trustee, stating that she felt there was so much good in it. Her firm has hosted a VHP Day in its office for the past few years right before Veteran’s Day. “I’m so blessed to have the most amazing staff and team of reporters who consistently volunteer their time on a Saturday as hosts, greeters, interviewers, reporters, and videographers.” Ballman describes it as truly the best day of the year and adds that everyone gets hooked after getting involved. As an easy way to participate, Ballman recommends doing one or two transcripts in your spare time. Since there isn’t a deadline, reporters can work it in whenever they have time. She admits, though, it’s best to meet the veteran in person because it’s very moving. “To be able to meet, honor, thank, and then capture the wartime and service stories of the men and women who protect us and keep our country free and safe is nothing short of a privilege. To use our skills as court reporters and resources as firm owners to make a VHP day happen is extremely gratifying.”
A PROJECT BRIDGING THE PAST TO THE FUTURE
You don’t have to be a working court reporter or videographer to participate in the program. Amanda Harwell, who is a student at Prince Institute and resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., began volunteering after seeing flyers posted around her campus. “After a visit to my wonderful grandparents, my grandfather strongly urged me to take part in the Veterans History Project. He is a veteran and thinks it’s crucial for young people to volunteer and educate themselves on the acts that took place,” Harwell says. After transcribing the interviews, she says she felt humbled by the experience. One of her veterans described how difficult it was to be drafted. “It really opened my eyes to a lot of tragic events that took place and how people were really affected by them.”
Harwell, like many reporters, says she gained much from volunteering. “Not only was it interesting, but it allowed me to practice my speed building on something outside of our regular dictations,” she says. “In the midst of this hectic education, we all need to find time for ourselves. Volunteering can allow us to make time for ourselves, increase our typing skills, and boost our self-esteem.” Since taking part in the VHP, she has tried to participate in more projects involving veterans. She says it has really encouraged her to step up and take part in whatever opportunities are available.
Part of the way students find out about the program is through dedicated volunteers. Dave Wynne, senior vice president of education for Stenograph, is one of many incredibly active people who volunteer in the program. He has coordinated several VHP Day at each of the company’s campuses and has encouraged other court reporting schools to get involved. “It’s so important to honor the vets as well as the volunteers who make it possible. We have an opening session with a color guard and a singing of the National Anthem. Then, we break into the interview sessions, follow it up with refreshments and a closing ceremony where we present certifications to the veterans and all the reporters who participate.”
Wynne adds that court reporters are guardians of the record, and the personal accounts of veterans are part of the human record and history of our country. “It is important that we know and understand both the horrors of war and the personal stories of these veterans who gave so much of themselves for our benefit. Our veterans, especially the WWII veterans, are dying at an unfortunate rate. We are in a unique position with specialized skills that no one else possesses to record their stories,” he says. “Any reporter who has ever participated will agree that they will probably never do anything as rewarding in their careers. You cannot help but be impacted by the stories and commitment made by these veterans regardless of the war.” For court reporters who don’t have that much time, Wynne mentions that people can request a CD from NCRF that they can transcribe on their own schedule. “While not as rewarding as the personal contact, they will still be moved. Plus there are CEUs tied to the effort in either case.”
Looking back over the years, Wynne shares a few of his favorites. “A veteran in Denver, who could not physically make it to one of the VHP events, was interviewed at his home. It was so meaningful to him that his family included a note about it in his obituary. Also, there was a group of Marine vets who came in uniform, some of which were from WWII and still fit, with a bulldog (the Marine mascot) dressed in his own camo uniform.”
Sherry Hill, the administrative representative at Prince Institute, works closely with Wynne and remembers hearing about VHP in 2007. When Hill got involved, she generated so much publicity for the event that they were inundated with calls from veterans and their relatives, so much that they had to schedule a second VHP Day to accommodate everyone. The project is a bit personal for Hill, who describes herself as a military brat. She fondly remembers one of the veterans, retired Col. Ernest Craigwell, a Tuskegee Airman, who passed away in 2011. Craigwell, a highly decorated veteran, gave the address to the school’s 2008 graduated class. “He encouraged our graduates to always pursue their goals, never back down from a challenge, and to continue to learn and grow as human beings,” Hill says, and notes that the students were lucky to be addressed by a real live American hero at their commencement. “The WWII vets we spoke to are a breed of men apart. They just don’t cut them from that kind of cloth anymore, and they are dying at an alarming rate. It’s imperative that NCRA continue their efforts in encouraging court reporting schools and professionals to participate in this worthy endeavor.”
Thanks to Wynne’s enthusiasm for the program, Jane Weingart, RMR, a freelance reporter from Burlington, Iowa, became involved after hearing a presentation he gave. “He was very enthusiastic about the project and urged other schools to participate.” Since then, so many volunteers have given their time and efforts to make each event a success. Weingart says that Kris Mattoon, lead VHP committee director, is a vital and tireless volunteer. “He is such a big supporter of the project and takes his personal time to go out and give presentations to groups in Des Moines.”
AIB’s first VHP Day was held in 2009, and the company has hosted an event around Veteran’s Day for the past four years. Their fifth annual VHP Day will be held this month. To date, more than 100 veterans have been interviewed, and their stories have been completed and given to the LOC, as well as the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa. AIB makes a big deal out of the day and presents signed certificates to the veterans, as well as the court reporters and videographers. The VHP days comes to life when Weingart describes them. “Many wear their uniforms and other military garb, and they are encouraged to bring any memorabilia they would like to add to their story. For some, this will be the first time they will have shared their wartime stories with anyone, including family and loved ones. Some prefer their families not be present for the interviews. The scars of war service are difficult to heal for many.” Weingart recalls one Vietnam veteran who was very reluctant to talk and was thinking of leaving while waiting for his interview to begin. “This was the first time he had told his story,” she says. That veteran now attends every VHP Day put on by the school, and he promotes the event to many veterans groups in the area and encourages other veterans’ participation in the program.
Weingart fondly remembers all the veterans throughout the years, noting that some of them have already passed away. In fact, she was saddened to hear that one of the veterans she interviewed in November 2012 passed away in early 2013. While he was in the hospital, the veteran and his wife proofed the draft. Weingart was able to get the transcript in final form to him shortly before his death. “I am so humbled by him, his wife, and son who were present at AIB – his courage at the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. I will never forget him.” Weingart has been inspired by all of the veterans. “Their shining faces remain with us and inspire us to continue the effort.”
Once again, court reporters around the country will honor our nation’s wartime veterans by hosting Veterans History Project Days in recognition of the Veterans Day holiday in November. Court reporting schools and firms as well as state and country governments will honor wartime veterans in their local communities by inviting them to attend and tell the stories of their wartime experiences. Court reporters and high-speed students have volunteered to transcribe these interviews. The veterans’ oral histories will be preserved in the permanent collection of the VHP at the Library of Congress so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Read on for more information about events and tips on how to host a VHP Day.
The following have scheduled VHP Days in November 2013:
On Nov. 9, Paradigm Reporting & Captioning, Minneapolis, Minn., will host a VHP Day that will include media coverage by Minnesota Public Radio and the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper. Firm owner Jan Ballman will capture her own father’s story, as well as his best friend’s, during the event which is expected to yield the stories of least 10 war veterans. This is the fourth VHP event hosted by Paradigm.
On Nov. 11, the 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Ill., will host a VHP Day at the Waukegan Courthouse where veterans will share their oral histories with court reporters. This year’s event is expected to capture between 15 and 20 veteran’s oral histories. Read more.
Anoka Technical College, Anoka, Minn., will host its sixth Annual VHP Day in November, and will bring local court reporters and court reporting students together to interview, record, and transcribe veterans’ stories for the Library of Congress.
AIB College of Business, Des Moines, Iowa, will hold its sixth VHP Day in November, to honor veterans from the State of Iowa.
Marjorie Peters Reporting Firm, Pittsburgh, Pa., is hosting a VHP in November.
The Texas Court Reporters Association, in conjunction with the Texas State Bar, is hosting a statewide VHP event, to ensure that as many veterans from Texas as possible will have the stories of their wartime experiences preserved.
The Illinois Secretary of State/Illinois State Library expects to add an additional 100 veteran’s histories to its current collection of 50, by the end of 2013.
Interested in hosting a VHP event? Below are some tips to help you plan.
- Firm owners – host a VHP Day in your office. Invite local veterans and have your reporters capture their stories.
- Officials – organize a VHP Day in your courthouse. Many judges, attorneys, and other court personnel are veterans, with stories to tell, as do local veterans within the community. Professional Development Credits are awarded for each transcript a court reporter submits.
- School owners, teachers, or administrators – organize a VHP Day on campus and encourage students to get involved. Students who volunteer and transcribe two histories receive a student membership in NCRA, paid for by NCRF.
- State associations – host a VHP Day at your convention, or partner with another organization to collect veterans’ stories.
- Freelancers – contact local VFW or DAV organizations to inquire about interviewing their members. Professional Development Credits are awarded for each transcript a court reporter submits.
If you are interested in hosting a VHP Day or would like to interview and/or transcribe veterans’ oral histories for the VHP, please visit the NCRF Website (NCRA.org/ncrf) or contact Beth Kilker at email@example.com.
Maybe you’re like I was a few years ago: Familiar enough with the National Court Reporters Foundation to know it did good things — isn’t that what foundations do? — but not quite familiar enough to be able to list three reasons why I was an Angel, which is a donor who supports the Foundation with an annual donation of at least $1,000.
Or maybe you’re someone who has heard the acronym NCRF but never really knew what it was all about and, therefore, never felt particularly compelled to support it with your time or resources.
Well, either way, I’m here to deliver a message: Your Foundation wants to be your new best friend!
Like best friendships, reciprocity is always a cornerstone. Any one-way street usually dead-ends at some point. But relationships where you both give and get back seem to be the most rewarding.
In a nutshell, here’s what there is to love about your Foundation:
NCRF supports students and new professionals. We’ve all been there, and it goes without saying that the scholarships, grants, and complimentary NCRA memberships provided by NCRF are credibly needed and appreciated by the future of our profession: court reporting students.
The Veterans History Project and the Legal Education Program are two NCRF initiatives that stand on their own in terms of the value they add to our communities. But the extra value they add to NCRA members through the awesome marketing opportunities they create is definitely underestimated and underleveraged. Also, did I mention you can obtain free PDCs by participating in these programs?
Each year, through the Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism, NCRF recognizes and honors one outstanding court reporter at the Annual Awards Luncheon at convention whose altruism throughout his or her service to our profession has been extraordinary and exemplary. Always powerful and moving.
And hot off the press: As a result of a recent strategic planning session NCRF is creating new and exciting tools and initiatives for court reporters to use not only in marketing themselves and their firms but also in touting the profession as a whole.
As you can see, NCRF creates and supports projects and programs that support court reporters, our profession, and our communities. Pretty noble work, right? What’s not to love? And it is all made possible by the financial support of NCRA members and other generous donors. So, here’s to the engagement of every member with NCRF and to a long and prosperous relationship rooted in mutual support.
Nothing is more inspiring than reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a room full of United States veterans. These men and women have served in every conflict our country has seen — many of them veterans of one, two, or even three wars — and now, as they are in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s, they continue to serve their country through the American Legion. No one is more passionate about service and this country than our veterans.
I received a call late on a Thursday, asking if I would be interested in reporting and preparing a transcript for an American Legion meeting all day on Saturday and half a day on Sunday. Since I didn’t have any commitments, I accepted the assignment.
I truly had no knowledge of what the American Legion was, does, nor what the assignment entailed, but I hit the road extra early to arrive with plenty of time to figure out what it was I could do for them. At the end of my day and a half with these phenomenal service people, the answer was not what I did for them, but what they did for me.
About an hour into the day, a gentleman was repeatedly mentioned, and his name was so familiar to me. I couldn’t place him for sure, but then my mind and fingers were extremely busy at the time. On a break, I finally remembered how I knew him: At my last convention as the president of the Utah Court Reporters Association, I had coordinated a two-site Veterans History Project Day. This man, Terry Schow, was my veteran liaison. He was appointed executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs by Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., on July 1, 2007. This man has connections! He helped me get the word out to the veterans of Utah, and he helped to coordinate the medical staff to facilitate our event.
As I progressed further into the day, I realized that this was a major meeting of the state chapter of the National American Legion. Each one of the veterans at this convention represented the districts and then the individual posts that comprised the Utah State Chapter of the American Legion. Each one of these leaders would be going back to their chapters and instituting their activities and programs throughout the state.
At a break, I approached Schow and reminded him of our affiliation. We discussed what a great success our Veterans History Project Day had been, and he said that he would love to be involved if we could do it again. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when, during a lull between speakers, I was called upon to present to their membership.
MY IMPROMPTU PRESENTATION ON THE VETERANS’ HISTORY PROJECT
Here is what I said:
I actually hadn’t planned on doing this, but what a wonderful opportunity for me to be here and to meet and associate with all of you veterans.
I am fascinated by the military: the people, the traditions, the loyalty, the dedication.
I did not grow up in a military family and really had no association with military personnel until I married into a military family. And you all are so intriguing to me. You are so unique. I have two boys who are absolutely obsessed with the Military Channel, and so I am gradually learning things that I should have learned perhaps many years ago.
I thought it was interesting when the Lieutenant Governor was speaking and sharing the exchange with his daughter, asking him and his wife why they love America so much. The thought occurred to me, I really do wonder if anyone who hasn’t served like you all have served and sacrificed can truly understand the devotion that you have for America. America is a part of your heart and soul. And I don’t know that we — those of us that haven’t served in the military — can truly understand that. But we can respect it, we can cherish it, and we can preserve it.
So the reason I’m here is because there is a program that I’m sure many of you are familiar with — actually, what brought it to my mind was Terry Schow. I recognized him because I worked with him on this very project a little over a year ago when I was the president of the Utah Court Reporters Association.
The program is called the Veterans History Project, and it is sponsored by the Library of Congress. And the National Court Reporters Association, of which I am a member, has partnered with the Library of Congress to record these statements.
And we actually did a Veterans’ History Day at both your Salt Lake facility and your — I call them care facilities rather than nursing homes, because I think they provide places of care for our wonderful veterans — at both your Salt Lake care facility and your Ogden care facility. We had teams of court reporters at both locations, and we invited the veterans to come in and speak to us. And we recorded those histories and sent them to the Library of Congress.
I have the rare privilege of being one of the few people in the small town of Kamas, Utah, who plays the piano, and so I perpetually am given the privilege to play the piano at funerals. This provides me the opportunity to learn about people, their families, and their lives.
When one of our revered veterans passes away, their families tell their stories, and I sit up there behind the piano and think to myself, Did somebody record these histories?
For those of us who haven’t been in the military, haven’t been in one of these conflicts, don’t have military family, if your histories, your stories, your experiences aren’t preserved, this incredible wealth of knowledge will forever be lost. You are the only opportunity, the only one with this wisdom whereby we can record these memories, and to record these events for posterity, for forever perhaps, and it pains me to see that opportunity pass.
I obviously wasn’t prepared to do this today, but tomorrow maybe I can bring some brochures that I have left over from our Veterans History Day. The court reporters in Utah would be thrilled to report your histories. We will come to your homes. We can take some of your pictures, perhaps your memorabilia. All of that stuff, they have a special place for in the Library of Congress where they collect these things.
And you don’t have to do it through us. Kits are available online for you to submit your own histories. If you have them already prepared — many of you have shared your pamphlets and books with me today. You can download that information and submit those histories.
If you haven’t already recorded your experiences and don’t have the facilities or tools to record your history and would like to be interviewed and have that recorded by a court reporter, we would be happy to assist you.
I’m going to try to not get too mushy now — though I appreciated those last people who came up and were a little emotional. I was afraid I would embarrass myself in front of you all with my sentimentality. It’s just something that I do.
In the movie Battleship, the best part of that whole movie is when their battleship has been sunk and they go to the “retired” battleship that is now serving as a museum. All of the young’uns don’t know how to operate it. And the veterans, in slow motion, walk up in formation and say, “What do you need, son?”
The respect, the passion, the knowledge that our veterans have is priceless. It can never be replaced. We are so grateful for all you have done and all you do to teach and train and carry on the traditions and inspire the legacy.
My two boys did a Veterans Memorial at our local cemetery for their Eagle Scout project, and they held their Eagle Court of Honor in the cemetery. The Color Guard was comprised of our local veterans, who conducted the flag ceremony. It was so inspiring. I couldn’t ask for a better example for my boys.
I thank you for your service, not only when you were in active duty, but the continued service you are doing through the American Legion and the examples and opportunities you provide for our youth. We need to record your histories and these memories that you hold in your hearts.
On another note, we also are very sensitive to the feelings you have about your service. We know that these were often distressing and difficult experiences, and you may not want to talk about them. Or you may not want to talk about these traumatic experiences in front of your family or loved ones. We understand and we respect that. This is not something you have to do, just an opportunity that we would love to provide, if you’d like to participate in this program. I will bring some cards. I will bring some brochures. Please get in contact with the Utah court reporters, and let’s record your histories.
THE MORE YOU GIVE
As the saying goes, the more you serve, the more you receive. As it turns out, present in the audience of this state convention were senators, representatives, and even the lieutenant governor of the state of Utah, all of whom are strong political supporters of our military and — as was later explained to me — have military family members with histories they would love to have preserved. They got information and made arrangements to follow up with me, and all gave me business cards and indicated if we “ever need anything, give them a call!”
The motto of the Utah American Legion is “Freedom Is Not Free.” We have such a rare privilege and special opportunity to serve these people through the Veterans History Project. These are the people who have paid the price for our freedom. It is so little to ask us to sacrifice an hour or two or even a day to serve these men and women who have sacrificed their time, their limbs, their health, their very lives for our freedoms. This is an opportunity to serve our country and our profession and for us to grow personally.
My day with the American Legion was priceless, both on a personal level and a professional level, as relationships were begun that will not only portray court reporters in a positive light, as hard workers, service-oriented consummate professionals, and dedicated Americans. In addition, Terry Schow, who was elected to the national executive committee of the American Legion, gave me his card and his contact information, as well as an invitation to call him if I ever needed anything.
Spending the weekend with these decorated war veterans inspires me to be better, to do more, to be more appreciative, to show more gratitude, and to find ways to serve. Organize a Veterans History Project day in your community, in your city, in your state. Go to your local rest home and visit with the staff. Find those veterans. Be conscientious of the sensitive nature of their experiences, but talk to their families and make a future appointment with them. Preserve this piece of American history, and serve those who have served.
The American Legion will receive their transcripts, and the invoice will be marked “paid in full … and then some!”
David Jackson, RDR, from Dallas, Texas, received NCRF’s 2013 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism during NCRA’s Convention & Expo in Nashville, Tenn. Jackson is a principal with the United American Reporting Services in Dallas. He is the 15th recipient of the Aurelio Award.
Jackson, who served six years in the U.S. Naval Reserve, including one active year as a court reporter at the Naval Guided Missile School at Dam Neck, Va., began his court reporting career as a freelancer in Oklahoma City. In 1971, he joined the firm of Federal Court Reporters and continued service with the company after it merged with United American Court Reporting Services in 1986.
Jackson is regularly involved with organizations at the local level and holds membership in the Dallas County Shorthand Reporters Association. He served as its president in 1979. At the state level, he is a member of the Texas Court Reporters Association and served as president of the group from 1983 through 1984. He is a past recipient of TCRA’s Distinguish Service Award and is a member of the organization’s Hall of Fame.
Jackson holds membership in NCRA and served on the organization’s board of directors from 1998 through 2001. He is also a member of the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting and a founding member of Legal Image Network Communications, serving as its vice president and treasurer in 1991.
During his career, Jackson served two terms on the Texas State Bar Association’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. He was a member of the advisory committee for the Court Reporting Institute of Dallas and the Professional College of Court Reporting. He was also appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to the Texas Court Reporters Certification Board and served seven years as co-chair of the Testing Committee, dictating and administering the Texas CSR test for court reporting. He has served as member of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee since 1992. His articles have appeared in the Texas Trial Lawyers Forum and in TCRA’s Texas Record, and he has been a presenter at numerous NCRA and TCRA meetings.
In addition to being involved in professional organizations, Jackson is a member of the Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas and was involved with the local Big Brothers program from 1980 through 1987.
“David is one of my local friendly competitors, and he is a big man with an even bigger heart,” said Donna L. Collins, RPR, CRR, CCP, owner of Collins Realtime Reporting, in Dallas, who nominated Jackson for the award. “He received the Texas Court Reporters Association’s top honor, the Distinguished Service Award, 18 years ago and now deserves the Aurelio award. He continues to serve on the Texas Supreme Court committees, proctoring and grading court reporter exams, as well as testifying before the legislature, speaking at seminars, and mentoring others in and outside of the court reporting profession.”
The Aurelio Award is the highest honor bestowed by the National Court Reporters Foundation, the charitable arm of NCRA. The award is bestowed each year to one individual in recognition of their commitment to the court reporting profession and for their selfless actions to give back to the community.
For the last two years, I’ve chaired the Angels Committee and am often asked, “What will this money be used for?” Angels are our major donors, at $1,000 and higher, so of course they want to know their contributions are being used wisely.
At first, I wonder how people don’t know about the Foundation and all it does for our profession. I mean, we’ve been around for 33 years. But then I realize that most reporters are usually so busy that we often don’t have time to really read the JCR or NewsFlash. NCRF also has a bit of an identity crisis, because people may know about our programs but think that NCRA is doing them.
NCRF is really the members’ foundation. Everything we do is to support NCRA members. Every member counts ✔to NCRF, and we strive to count to the members. So, what do we do with donations? When I tell you, I know you’re going to say, “Oh, I’ve heard of that!”
How about the Veterans History Project ? Need PDCs to meet your certification requirements? You can earn them by transcribing a veteran’s history through VHP.
How about scholarships for court reporting students? NCRF awards the Frank Sarli and grants Student Intern Scholarships, as well as grants to a New Professional Reporter. How about free memberships in NCRA for students if they transcribe veterans’ histories?
Or how about free teaching tools so that you can offer a seminar to end-users on how to make a good record? You know they don’t get it in law school!
How about supporting NCRA at Intersteno so that our profession is represented in the global community?
All of our donors make these programs — and more — possible. But it takes money.
That’s why we have the Angels Drive and hold fun events at Convention and other conferences. In 2012, Stenograph donated a beautiful Diamante that NCRF raffled off, raising more than $11,000 for the Foundation. Whoops, they did it again! They donated a Diamante for NCRF to raffle at NCRA’s 2013 Convention in Nashville. Stenograph has been a faithful supporter of NCRF since we were formed in 1980, and we can’t thank them enough.
As Merilyn Sanchez mentioned in this column last month, NCRF’s Board of Trustees is undertaking a new strategic plan. We’re working closely with NCRA to connect NCRF’s activities more tangibly and directly to the needs and priorities identified by NCRA members. You matter to us, and we want to matter to you! Keep watching. We’re excited to announce how we’re going to do that.
Finally, thank you to everyone who supports NCRF. We can’t do it without you!
Through NCRF’s Student Initiatives Program, court reporting students can earn a free student membership in NCRA just by transcribing two histories under NCRF’s Oral Histories Program. It’s that easy! Sign up now, and NCRF will pay your dues so that you receive the benefit of a full year of membership — free! Contact Beth Kilker, OHP program manager, at 800- 262-6272, ext. 174, or by email at bkilker@ ncra.org.