NCRF Hard-of-Hearing Heroes oral histories project spotlighted

jcr-publications_high-resThe Andrews Gazette (Easton, Md.) posted an article about the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Veterans History Project event that NCRF and the Hearing Loss Association of America will host on Feb. 18 in Bethesda, Md., as part of NCRA’s 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

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NCRF announces new Major Gift donation

NCRF logo new web

The National Court Reporters Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Court Reporters Association, announced that Nancy Hopp, RDR, CRR, CMRS, of St. Louis, Mo., has become the latest donor to NCRF’s Major Gifts Program at the Silver level. Hopp currently chairs the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

“My gift to the Foundation is given with gratitude for the many ways court reporting has enriched my life. It has allowed me to meet interesting people and hear fascinating things, to travel, to expand my knowledge of the world and of technology, and, most importantly, to provide a comfortable living for my family,” said Hopp.

Hopp joins founding Platinum donor Veritext, based in Livingston, N.J., and Silver donors Debra K. and Jeffrey M. Cheyne from Sherwood, Ore.; Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS, owner of Paradigm Reporting in Minneapolis, Minn.; and B.J. Shorak, of Vienna, Va.

Major Gifts donors make contributions of $5,000 or more in a calendar year. There are three contribution levels: a Silver contribution, which reflects donations of $5,000 to $24,999; a Gold contribution, which reflects donations of $25,000 to $49,999; and a Platinum contribution, which reflects donations of $50,000 and higher. Donations through the Major Gifts Program support all of NCRF’s programs.

“NCRF, through its charitable works, casts a positive spotlight on the good works of reporters through scholarships, grants, the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, the Legal Education Program, and the Oral Histories Program. I view my Major Gift as but a small thank-you for the many incredible benefits that court reporting has brought to me,” said Hopp.

NCRF launched the Major Gifts Program at the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo in New York City.

Contributors to NCRF’s Major Gifts Program are required to adhere to the program’s donation policy, which includes a review by a Major Gifts Donation Committee, a written agreement by the donor to abide by NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws and its Code of Professional Ethics, and the agreement to ensure all donated funds are received by NCRF in a specified time.

For more information about NCRF’s Major Gifts Program, contact NCRF Deputy Executive Director B.J. Shorak at 703-556-6272 or bjshorak@ncra.org.

NCRF’s Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project receives grant

hard-of-hearing-com-smThe National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) recently won a $10,000 Innovation Grant from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation. The grant supports NCRF’s new program, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project, which seeks to preserve the stories of America’s war veterans with hearing loss using CART captioning. The Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project is an offshoot of NCRF’s continued work with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP). NCRF will use grant funds to host Hard-of-Hearing Heroes VHP Days across the nation.

“NCRF is honored to be one of the recipients of this extremely competitive grant that allows us to expand our work preserving the accounts of America’s veterans,” said Mike Nelson, CEO and Executive Director of NCRA and NCRF. “Receiving this grant showcases our organization and the court reporting profession to tens of thousands of association executives across the country. In addition, it promotes our members’ services to thousands of members of veterans and hearing loss organizations at whose conventions NCRF will host Hard-of-Hearing Heroes VHP Days, including our partners the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).”

NCRF is one of four recipients of the ASAE Foundation’s Innovation Grants, which receives more than 100 applications each year.

“Since the ASAE Foundation started the Innovation Grant Program (IGP) five years ago, we have received a number of outstanding applications that illustrate the innovative work associations are doing to help improve the industry. The committee had a hard time selecting four winners again this year,” said Paul K. Farrell, 2016 chair of the IGP steering committee and associate director of audiology professional practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. “Congratulations to the winning associations!”

The inaugural Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project VHP Day event will be on Feb. 18 at HLAA’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md., in conjunction with Court Reporting & Captioning Week. NCRF will also host events at HLAA’s annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June and at ALDA’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla., in October.

“HLAA is delighted to work with the National Court Reporters Foundation on the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project. It is vitally important that veterans’ wartime experiences are preserved for generations to come and are accessible to people with hearing loss,” said Nancy Macklin, Director of External Affairs & Events for HLAA. “As a token of appreciation for their service, HLAA provides veterans with hearing loss a complimentary membership and convention registration. HLAA will assist NCRF in recruiting veterans with hearing loss to be interviewed for this project.”

Four veterans will be interviewed at each of three sessions on Feb. 18. The sessions are 9-10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and 1:30-3 p.m.

For each veteran’s interview, NCRF will need a volunteer to interview the veteran, a captioner to provide realtime for the veteran, and a reporter to transcribe the interview for the Library of Congress. Both the court reporter and captioner may earn 0.25 PDCs for each veteran interviewed.

If you would like to volunteer at the Feb. 18 event, please contact April Weiner, NCRF Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.

Court reporting schools and state associations across country honor veterans through the Veterans History Project

Many court reporting schools, state associations, firms, and courthouses across the nation celebrate Veterans Day by interviewing veterans about their wartime experiences for the Veterans History Project (VHP). These VHP Days have become annual traditions in Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois, to name just a few places.

Iowa Court Reporters Association & Des Moines Area Community College

For the past eight years, the Iowa Court Reporters Association (ICRA) has partnered with a local court reporting school to host a VHP Day in November. The event was hosted at AIB College of Business until the school closed its court reporting program in 2012. When Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) picked up AIB’s court reporting program, it also happily picked up the partnership with ICRA. Between the partnerships with AIB and DMACC, ICRA has interviewed almost 200 veterans.

On Nov. 4, DMACC and ICRA hosted their third shared VHP Day and interviewed 12 veterans who had served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The event involves more than simply interviewing veterans. This year, the local color guard posted the colors, Renee Davenport sang the national anthem, and Col. Greg Hapgood from Camp Dodge in Johnson, Iowa, handed out framed certificates to the veterans following a catered luncheon.

The event provides an opportunity to recognize veterans for their service, even when the veterans do not believe there is anything noteworthy about their service.

The committee who organized the VHP Day in Illinois. From left, front row: Teresa Kordick, Julie Van Cleve, Patti Ziegler. Back row: Kelli Mulcahy, Pam Burkle, Carrie Nauman, and Amanda Kieler. (Not pictured: Dixie Rash and Kelly Pieper)

The committee who organized the VHP Day in Illinois. From left, front row: Teresa Kordick, Julie Van Cleve, Patti Ziegler. Back row: Kelli Mulcahy, Pam Burkle, Carrie Nauman, and Amanda Kieler (Not pictured: Dixie Rash and Kelly Pieper)

“The common theme I have noted among all stories is that they don’t feel that their service was of any particular importance,” said Pamela Burkle, RPR, an official from Urbandale, Iowa, one of the organizers of the annual event. “But when you put them all together, they are important. One part cannot work without the other. One veteran said he made bread, and that was his job, and he didn’t feel it was very important. However, I think if you asked any of the veterans in his platoon, they would say their bread/food was an integral part of their survival.”

Since the event is hosted at DMACC, court reporting students are invited to participate as student guides and room monitors. In addition to hearing the veterans’ stories, which have a profound impact on everyone in the room, the students get the opportunity to speak with the seasoned court reporters who are transcribing the interviews.

“I was speaking with the student in my room and explaining how I was adding to my job dictionary based on the conversation the interviewer and the veteran were having prior to the interview starting,” said Burkle. “She had no idea how that worked, and she told me that she thought I was having computer problems because I kept going back to my laptop.”

There is a sense of urgency to interviewing veterans before it’s too late. “Last year, shortly after the histories were taken, a couple of the veterans passed away before the transcripts were even completed,” said Burkle. Fortunately, their stories will live on in the Library of Congress.

Anoka Technical College & Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters & Captioners

The Judicial Reporting Program at Anoka Technical College in Minnesota has hosted an annual VHP Day the Saturday before Veterans Day since 2008, interviewing approximately 50 veterans to date. Working closely with the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters & Captioners, the college recruits students to interview the veterans and Minnesotan reporters to write and transcribe the interviews.

The annual event used to be hosted on the college campus, but Anoka Tech has recently taken the event off-site.

“The past couple of years we have taken our team to an assisted living home so we can interview World War II and Korean War veterans who are not as mobile anymore,” said Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, an NCRA Director and instructor at Anoka Tech. “Most recently, on Nov. 5, Minnesota reporters and students … joined together to help preserve history for 12 wartime veterans at Chandler Place Assisted Living in St. Anthony.” Nine of these veterans served in World War II and three served in the Korean War.

“We make our VHP event more than just interviews,” Sati continues. “We have food, music (an accordion player), decorations, and we invite veterans to return back the following years to enjoy the day and continue building friendships.”

John Pletscher, accompanied by his daughter Chris, is interviewed by Tom Piltoff while Debbie Peterson transcribes

John Pletscher, accompanied by his daughter Chris, is interviewed by Tom Piltoff while Debbie Peterson transcribes.

Tom Piltoff, a court reporting student, served as an interviewer at this year’s event. “It was an extremely humbling experience to be in the presence of such great men and an honor to have been able to hear even a small chapter or two of their stories,” he said.

The participants will remember these stories for years to come. One memorable veteran is Larry Tillemans.

“He lived in a small town outside of the Twin Cities,” said Sati. “One of the students who worked as a waitress in a small café he frequented mentioned that her school hosts VHP Days. He was interested! As it turns out, Mr. Tillemans was a typist with the Third Army in Munich, Germany (1945-1946). He was assigned by the Army to type transcripts at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials and the Dachau Tribunal. Throughout the 218 days Mr. Tillemans spent in Germany, he witnessed over 350 Nazis and victims of the Holocaust give their testimony. Mr. Tillemans personally typed over 200,000 affidavits. He shares his experience with as many people as he could. He is adamant people hear actual accounts from people who were present when history was being made.”

Lake County, Ill., Veterans History Project

The Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Ill., has hosted its annual VHP Day for the past five years on Veterans Day.

“Our VHP event would never have happened if it hadn’t been for my colleague, Vernita Allen-Williams (our current ILCRA president),” said Deborah Cohen-Rojas, RPR, an official from Lake County, Ill., one of the event’s organizers. Allen-Williams, RMR, an official from Waukegan, Ill., is the current president for the Illinois Court Reporters Association. “[She] had read about the project and mentioned it to our then-chief judge, Fred Foreman, and, upon his retirement, support for the project was continued by our next chief judge, John Phillips, who is also a veteran,” Cohen-Rojas continued. “Both Judge Foreman and Judge Phillips are retired now, but they remain strong supporters of the project, and they both volunteered at this year’s event.” According to Cohen-Rojas, Allen-Williams and Colleen Eitermann, an official, from Deerfield, Ill., coordinated the first event and began “what has become a proud tradition at our courthouse.”

This event has grown exponentially over the past five years, from nine veterans the first year to a record 35 veterans this year, bringing their five-year total up to 134 veterans interviewed.

“The first year we did the VHP,” says Cohen-Rojas, “we put out pastries and fruit and coffee, and we had the opening ceremony in one of our courtrooms. Then, as more people participated each year, more people wanted to be involved and more ideas started to surface. The Young Marines, in addition to helping serve the veterans and their families breakfast, also help out as escorts for disabled veterans. Last year we had challenge coins made for the veterans with all of the branches of the military represented on them. We started sending the veterans packages after the interviews with copies of their interview transcripts, framed certificates, thank-you letters, and photos from the event. Representatives from organizations like the Honor Flight and the Daughters of the American Revolution got involved, as well. It has really been an honor to watch this event grow and evolve. My favorite part is hearing afterward from volunteers that the experience has changed them and that they want to volunteer again not just for the next year, but for every year after that!”

The entire community backs the annual event. The Lake County Bar Association supplies interviewers and escorts for the veterans, and contributes financially to support the event.

“State’s attorneys, public defenders, and private practitioners participate, as well as several retired judges,” adds Cohen-Rojas. “The Marines volunteer time and food for the fantastic breakfast served to the veterans and their families. The staff at the 19th Circuit café volunteer their time in helping to serve breakfast, as well.”

Of course, the event wouldn’t be complete without the court reporters.

“The court reporters are really superstars. Several of the 19th Circuit’s reporters participate, and we have freelancers and other officials who come from all over the state as well as several from other states,” said Cohen-Rojas. “I talked to at least three reporters this year who had come from so far away that they got hotel rooms and traveled in the day before the event. These reporters happily sacrifice their time off and, in the case of freelancers, personal expense to be a part of this event. I really can’t say enough about them.”

For more information on how you can interview a veteran in your community, or host your own VHP Day, visit NCRA.org/NCRF or contact NCRF’s Foundation Manager, April Weiner, aweiner@ncra.org.

NCRF’s Purple Heart Day at NCRA Convention continues to promote the profession

jcr-publications_high-resThe December issue of Convene magazine features an article showcasing NCRF’s Purple Heart Day VHP event held at the NCRA Convention & Expo in Chicago, Ill. The article quotes NCRF Chair Nancy Hopp, RDR, CRR, CMRS, St. Louis, Mo. In addition, NCRA CEO and Executive Director, Mike Nelson, CAE, and NCRF Manager April Weiner are also quoted.

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Gold Star families added to Library of Congress Veterans History Project

jcr-publications_high-resNJ.com reported on Nov. 16 that the U.S. Senate has approved legislation that adds Gold Star families to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The measure allows family members of those killed or missing in action to share their stories as part of the program. The bill is now headed to the president’s desk for signing.

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Court reporting students host Veterans History Project

The Newton Daily Njcr-publications_high-resews posted an article on Nov. 11 about a Veterans History Project event held at the Des Moines Area (Iowa) Community College that was hosted by students from its court reporting program. Members from the Iowa Court Reporters Association interviewed 12 veterans during the event in honor of Veterans Day.

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Local court reporters coordinate Veterans History Project

jcr-publications_high-resThe Lake County News-Sun, Lake County, Ill., posted an article on Nov. 11 about the Veterans History Project event held in honor of Veterans Day. The event was coordinated by local court reporters Deborah Cohen-Rojas, RPR, and Colleen Eitermann.

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Five ways to support the court reporting and captioning profession on #GivingTuesday

giving-tuesday-2016_jcrcomNCRA members and staff are all part of the service economy. NCRA members are keepers of the record, and NCRA staff serves its members. The profession has service in its blood, so NCRA is encouraging all members and staff to take part in #GivingTuesday on Nov. 29.

What is #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday, an annual day of giving following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, was created in 2012 to empower a new community of philanthropists. #GivingTuesday is based on the concept that anyone, anywhere, can be a philanthropist. Participants don’t have to be billionaires to participate, and they don’t have to give funds. Giving can mean money, time, advocacy, or education.

On Nov. 29, NCRA members are encouraged to participate on #GivingTuesday

  1. Sponsor a student membership.

For many students, typical daily expenses combined with the cost of tuition means NCRA membership falls outside their budgeted expenses. Often when students choose which bills to pay, membership in NCRA falls off the list, despite the fact that being a part of the national association provides numerous resources, such as access to professionals for support and other benefits, that can help lead to finding jobs when they have graduated and are furthering their professional careers.

  1. Donate to NCRF.

The National Court Reporters Foundation raises funds throughout the year to support programs created to benefit the greater court reporting community. NCRF also awards four scholarships and grants to court reporting students and recent graduates each year. Donate to NCRF by calling 800-272-6272.

  1. Become a virtual mentor.

NCRA is committed to excellence both in the court reporting profession and in the next generation of court reporters. To this end, the Virtual Mentor Program brings working court reporters and students together, so students can get the guidance and encouragement they need and today’s court reporters can nurture the future of court reporting.

  1. Download crTakeNote.com brochures and posters.

Put up posters at local schools, libraries, and coffee shops. Do a presentation about becoming a court reporter for high school students, parents, and/or school counselors. Talk to a neighbor or friend about court reporting careers.

  1. Volunteer to serve on an NCRA Committee or in a leadership position and give back to the profession, make new friends, and establish new networks.

Learn 30 more ways to give back on #GivingTuesday.

Share how you plan to give on social media by using the #GivingTuesday and #crTakeNote hashtags.

NCRA PAC, NCRF score big at fundraising challenge

Attendees at this year’s Annual Convention & Expo completely embraced a one-time challenge issued to show their support for the court reporting and captioning professions by contributing to NCRA’s Political Action Committee and generating funding for student scholarships through the National Court Reporting Foundation (NCRF).

The challenge – “Put your money where your mouth is!” – was issued by NCRA Executive Director and CEO Mike Nelson, CAE, and the Association’s Washington legislative counsel, Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. The pair called on attendees to contribute to PAC, and in exchange the two committed to donate an equal amount of their own money up to $5,000 to support NCRF’s student scholarships. In the end, a total of $7,780 was raised in three days to support PAC while NCRF’s scholarship programs received $5,000.

“Mike and I were discussing the connection between student recruitment and government relations. In that conversation, we decided to make a big personal commitment to both by encouraging people to get involved with NCRA’s PAC,” said Wenhold. “Not only did we raise awareness, we knocked it out of the park! This was an opportunity to have our members see directly where their contributions are going.”

Nelson and Wenhold made the challenge during the Premier Session at Convention. During the announcement, Wenhold illustrated how serious he and Nelson were by emptying a backpack of 5,000 one-dollar bills on the stage.

“Needless to say, when Dave and Mike told me about this plan to support NCRF, I was absolutely floored,” said B.J. Shorak, Deputy Executive Director of NCRF. “When they explained the idea and how they were going to promote it in Chicago, I was hoping that their support of NCRF through this fundraiser would motivate members to contribute to PAC.  Even though PAC contributions are not tax-deductible, I hoped the members would feel good knowing that their PAC support was helping the Foundation through Dave’s and Mike’s generosity.”

According to Shorak, as a former NCRA staff member and now as NCRA’s government relations consultant, Wenhold has always supported NCRF, and his donation at this level was a real indicator of his dedication to the profession, while Nelson supports the Foundation with his time and expertise, and financially as an Angel donor. The further personal financial support, she said, went above and beyond.

“I really can’t fully express our appreciation to both of them,” Shorak added.

To continue to encourage the challenge, the $5,000 exhibited during the Premier Session was later moved to the NCRA Government Relations Booth on the Expo Floor, where it was clearly displayed to visitors.

“People loved seeing the pile of cash and knowing they were helping not only the students but also helping legislators who help the reporting community,” said Wenhold. “PAC is often overlooked but is essential to NCRA’s ability to keep our great presence on Capitol Hill. Mike and I were both honored to make that commitment to the profession and thank those who joined our effort.”

NCRA’s PAC supports the Association’s advocacy efforts in the legislative and regulatory arenas, while NCRF, the charitable arm of NCRA, offers an array of scholarships to support students, student interns, and new professionals.

For more information about NCRA’s PAC program, visit NCRA.org/PAC. For information about NCRF, including its scholarship opportunities and how to donate to the Foundation, visit NCRA.org/NCRF.