The National Court Reporters Association bestowed its highest honor, the 2023 Distinguished Service Award (DSA), on Heidi C. Thomas, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a captioner and CART provider from Kennesaw, Ga. Thomas was honored at a special awards ceremony held at the 2023 NCRA Conference & Expo taking place July 27-30, at the Hyatt Regency Houston Downtown in Houston, Texas.
The NCRA DSA recognizes the distinguished work and service by an individual member for the benefit of the court reporting and captioning professions, including service to NCRA as a member, a committee member, a director, or an officer of the Association. Other displays of distinguished work include contributing to the JCR, the official membership magazine, service to a state or local court reporting association, or service in the field of public relations or public affairs. Award winners are nominated by their peers and are recognized each year at the NCRA Conference & Expo.
Thomas has been a court reporter since 1978 and a broadcast and CART captioner since 1989. She provides onsite and remote CART and broadcast captioning for local, state, regional, national, and international conferences, conventions, and seminars, as well as in classroom and business settings.
At the national level, Thomas is a past NCRA Director. She also served for six years on the NCRA Realtime Certification Committee, which developed the Certified CART Provider (CCP) and Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) certifications. She was also part of the team that developed the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) certification, which combined the CBC and CCP. Thomas also served as a member of the NCRA Captioning Regulation and Captioning Committees, the 10X10 Campaign Council, the Captioning Community of Interest, the CART Community of Interest, and the CART Ethics Committee. She has also served on NCRA’s Communications & Outreach Board Subcommittee, the Contests, Realtime Certification, and Nominating Committees, and the Student Community of Interest. Since 2008 she has been a member of NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR), which deals with certification and education issues, and has served for many years on the faculty/training staff of NCRA.
At the state level, Thomas is a former Director and past Secretary of the Georgia Shorthand Reporters Association (GSRA), and former member of the Board of Court Reporting for the State of Georgia. She has also served as a presenter at the national and at the state level.
Among her career highlights have been captioning the 2013 visit of his Holiness the XID Dalai Lama in Lithuania, the 1996 Paralympics, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and conferences in nearly a dozen countries.
Thomas was nominated for the 2023 NCRA DSA by a number of her peers, including Lisa Johnston, RMR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner from Melbourne, Fla. Johnston wrote in her nomination application that Thomas is always willing to share what she knows with other captioners for the betterment of the assignment and the client.
“Heidi deserves the DSA because she gives tirelessly of herself, she wants the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities to have the best possible quality captions, and really cares about what she does,” Johnston said.
“Heidi is well-known within NCRA and around her state association for her service and volunteerism,” added Kim Falgiani, RDR, CRC, CRR, a CART and broadcast captioner from Warren, Ohio, who also nominated Thomas for the Award. “Mentoring and training new court reporters, CART providers, and captioners is a necessary task for the continuation of our profession. Heidi has never hesitated to step up and contribute to that development and training of our next generation, “ she added.