Call for nominations to NCRF Board of Trustees

By Michael Bouley

Who have been your guides and angels in court reporting?  We all have them.
The National Court Reporters Foundation is looking for a few good Angels to serve on its Board of Trustees.
At NCRF, we give back by paying it forward. The Board of Trustees oversees the Foundation’s
activities and investments:  Student scholarships, The Veterans History Project, the Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism, the new Career Launcher series, and much more!  
It feels good to play a role in such great court reporting causes.
Apply yourself or nominate a colleague today. The deadline has been extended to Friday, May 29.

Michael Bouley, RPR, is a freelance court reporter from Henderson, Nev., and an NCRF Trustee.

Taking a walk on the brighter side: Advancing to our new tomorrow together

By Tami Keenan

Tami Keenan

Hello, you wonderful Angels! On behalf of the NCRF Board of Trustees we hope you, your family, and friends are weathering this pandemic. Unbelievable, isn’t it?  Life has changed so drastically in a snap. How are you coping with it, with remote jobs, being an essential worker, children off school who still need their education, our elderly and challenged family members who need care, loved ones in nursing homes? The list goes on and on.  

My husband, Reggie, and I take our dogs over to the local boat launch every afternoon because apparently there are different smells that erupt each day that our canines must investigate. Recently, my dear friend, who is my standing lunch date on Fridays before the stay-at-home order, called me while I was down there and pulled up in her car to see me. In the past, we would hug when we first see each other and hug when we leave.

No hug this time, not even a touch of the hand. Many of you who know me know that I’m a hugger and a handshaker; not sure about new rules on hugging and handshaking after this is over.

When is after anyway? We all have so many questions. No one has all the answers.

One answer I do have is this:  NCRF still continues to administer our programs. Now’s a great time to transcribe a veteran’s oral history and earn PDC credit. You can access the Legal Education course “Making the Record” on our website on this page.

Familiarize yourself with it; when you’re comfortable about it, you’ll be ready to present it. Volunteer to help with the online NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program. Volunteer to be a mentor for an A to Z student. Get involved.

The NCRA conference is still on the horizon for Aug. 6. NCRF will be there, and we will have Foundation and Angel activities, awards, and scholarships. Keep reading to see what you are invited to.

Take care, my friends, be safe! Hope to see you in Orlando. We need you to join us there. Stay healthy so you can help us advance our industry, advance our foundation, and advance our world.

Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, is the Chair of the NCRF Board of Trustees.

Stenograph announces winner of the Milton H. Wright Scholarship

In a press release issued March 6, Stenograph announced that winner of a new scholarship that honors Stenograph’s founder, Milton H. Wright. The scholarship, which is awarded through a partnership with NCRF, was given to Lisa Wurtinger, a student at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn.

Read more.

Veterans History Project celebrates 20th anniversary

NCRA Membership and Development Manager Brenda Gill, Director of State Government Relations Jocelynn Moore, Content Manager Heidi Renner, and Development Relations Manager Jill Parker Landsman

NCRA staff members recently delivered some of the Veterans History Project (VHP) transcripts members have produced to the Library of Congress (LOC).

NCRA members have transcribed 4,353 interviews for the VHP. NCRA Development Relations Manager Jill Parker Landsman, Membership and Development Manager Brenda Gill, Director of State Government Relations Jocelynn Moore, and Content Manager Heidi Renner visited the program at its headquarters in the Library of Congress.

Kerry Ward, liaison specialist with the Veterans History Project, said groups come to the LOC VHP office to present transcripts, and those presentations sometimes include ceremonies. Ward said the office’s role is to provide the inspiration and tools for a grassroots effort to help people share veterans’ stories.

This year, the VHP is celebrating its 20th anniversary of preserving and making accessible these veterans’ stories. They have 110,000 collections covering WWI to the present, and 60 percent of the materials are online.

“What a great honor it is to memorialize the narratives of our nation’s brave military veterans with this Oral History Project,” said Landsman, who also works for the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), which, as the charitable arm of the Association, coordinates NCRA members’ transcription of the VHP audio and video. “Our court reporter members are eager to give back to their communities and their country. It amazes me how many members volunteer for this, share how touched they were by doing this, and want to transcribe yet another veteran’s oral history.”

The collections include people who served in many different ways. People will often say they didn’t do much, but that’s not true, Ward said. The interviews cover the full arc of someone’s life, including interviews, pictures, letters, artwork, and more.

“We’re not after the dramatic stories,” Ward said. “Things you don’t think are important can be important to someone else.”

Minimum requirements for a collection are a 30-minute audio or video interview, 20 pages or more of a journal or diary, and 10 photos, letters, or works of art. Those amounts can be mixed and matched. The information is then available to researchers; for instance, Ken Burns has used their records. They also hold workshops for groups of 25 or more on how to run a VHP day, like one that was held recently in Ohio.

It’s possible to see the veterans’ collections that have been put online. This link leads to the interviews that were transcribed by NCRA members.

Nancy Hopp, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CMRS, a freelancer from St. Louis, Mo., has been involved in multiple VHP interviews. “You just can’t imagine what it’s like to hear these horrifying and yet intimate stories,” she said. “The gratitude these soldiers expressed will stay with me for a lifetime.”

Read more about Hopp’s experiences with the VHP.

“In 2003, the Veterans History Project developed one of our most salient relationships when we collaborated with the National Court Reporters Foundation,” Ward said. “The transcriptions that NCRA/NCRF reporters contribute now allow historians, students of history, family members, and researchers to view these one-of-a-kind oral histories in printed form, which helps to emphasize the content and facilitate the usage.”

The Veterans History Project (VHP) is the first of several oral history projects that NCRF and NCRA members have supported through NCRF’s expanded Oral Histories Program.

How can a member be involved?

For questions or additional information about this program and other NCRF programs, please email ncrfoundation@ncra.org.

Nancy Hopp describes VHP experience

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, a freelancer from St. Louis, Mo., shared with the JCR some of her experiences with the Veterans History Project. The National Court Reporters Foundation is a partner with the Library of Congress in the project which is celebrating its 20th anniversary of preserving and making accessible these veterans’ stories.

JCR |When did you participate in the VHP?

NH | My first VHP experience was at the NCRA 2016 Convention & Expo in Chicago. The Sunday the convention ended also happened to be Purple Heart Day, and NCRA and NCRF staff set up a VHP event for Purple Heart veterans. I interviewed two Vietnam veterans, Kenny Laforge and John Domina. In 1970, at only 18 years of age, they were both wounded in the same attack as they served together. Their injuries were very serious, and although both survived, they returned to a country deeply divided by this unpopular war. Kenny and John were not acknowledged for their bravery or sacrifices, even by the existing veterans’ organizations. They had to essentially bury their experiences deep inside themselves and soldier on as they attempted to readjust, with great difficulty, to civilian life. This VHP experience, almost 50 years later, was the first time they had been invited to share their stories.

JCR | What made you interested to do it?

NH | My father, also a Purple Heart recipient, had served in World War II as an infantryman in Europe. He was deployed in France during a very bitter winter and suffered greatly from the privations of the battlefield. At age 83, while on his deathbed, he knit together all the little anecdotes he had shared throughout his lifetime into one very emotional and compelling story. It struck me at the time that he would not let himself die until he had finally shared in full this pivotal chapter of his life, even though it had happened more than 50 years prior. The idea of hearing other soldiers’ stories intrigued me further.

JCR | What did you think of the experience?

NH | Kenny’s and John’s stories really moved me. They were so young to have traveled halfway around the world, suffered severe injuries, and then forced to keep their stories to themselves. (My son was only a few years older at the time of these interviews, and I could not imagine him having to cope with experiences similar to what they had gone through.) But despite that, they were so very grateful for the opportunity to share their personal histories for posterity’s sake. They kept thanking me and reporter Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR, for making this possible. It was a very humbling moment.

JCR | Have you had other chances to be a part of the VHP program?

NH | As then-chairperson of NCRF, I had the honor of addressing the national convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Dallas, Texas, two years ago. Again, NCRA and NCRF staff scheduled a VHP event in conjunction with their convention, and I was able to interview more veterans. You just can’t imagine what it’s like to hear these horrifying and yet intimate stories. The gratitude these soldiers expressed will stay with me for a lifetime.

OCRA partners with state’s Veterans of Foreign Wars for VHP event

Earlier this month, the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) partnered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Ohio to host a Veterans History Project event that captured the stories of nine American war veterans. The event was held in conjunction with the Ohio VFW’s mid-winter conference in Columbus, Ohio, and was so successful that it generated a story by a National Public Radio reporter which aired on a local radio station.

“This special VHP event kicked off a yearlong effort launched by OCRA to capture the stories of 100 American war veterans in 2020 to help celebrate the association’s 100th anniversary,” said Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE, a captioner from Rittman, Ohio, and president of OCRA.

Linkowski said the partnership between OCRA and the Ohio VFW is a result of a relationship between NCRA Immediate Past President Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, CLR, a freelance court reporter from Springfield, Ohio, and the veterans’ organization.

“In 1975 the VFW meeting was Sue’s very first court reporting assignment. OCRA members knew we wanted to bring the VHP to Ohio in a purposeful way, and this partnership makes sense. We’re starting at the top with the commanders and have asked them to take the VHP back to each individual post, where local court reporters will participate in collecting stories,” she said. Linkowski also added that members of OCRA who manned a booth at the Ohio VFW event distributed additional information about the VHP program with various post commanders who attended the conference. To date, three VFW posts have begun looking at dates to hold VHP days.

“OCRA members and volunteers were able to collect the stories of nine veterans who represented service in the Army, Navy, and Air Force during WWII, the Vietnam War, Iraq, and a fighter jet pilot with stories from 9/11 that you never would have imagined, as well as many other conflicts,” Linkowski said. “The common theme was relationships that are formed when the person beside you has your life in their hands. The Ohio veterans laughed and cried as their service-time stories were told, and each of our volunteers expressed how they could listen to the stories over and over again.”

The court reporters and captioners who volunteered to help capture the stories were also assisted by a 13-year-old young man and Jeff Sindiong, an Ohio resident.

“I immediately realized that this is a very important project that preserves the stories of those whose stories should not be forgotten,” Sindiong said. “Most importantly, those of the servicemen and women of WWII, ‘The Greatest Generation,’ who won’t be around much longer to hand down the realities of what a war of that magnitude is like. We had the honor and privilege of hearing from a veteran who served as a turret gunner of a B-24 bomber, a veteran who, by some miracle, flew 34 missions and lived to tell about it,” he added.  

The VHP program was launched by the Library of Congress to collect the stories of American war veterans by recording and transcribing interviews with them. In 2003, the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), the philanthropic arm of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), partnered with the LOC to support the VHP program. To date, more than 3,000 veterans’ histories have been transcribed by members of NCRA and submitted to the Library for archival. The VHP is one of the most popular oral histories efforts supported by NCRA members. Participation in VHP events also serve to showcase the court reporting and captioning professions by allowing veterans, their family members, and other members of the public to see how court reporters and captioners use steno machines to capture and translate the spoken word into text.

Angel profile: Mary Bader

Mary Bader, FAPR, RPR

The JCR Weekly regularly highlights one of the more than 100 Angels who support the National Court Reporters Foundation. This month, we profile Mary Bader, FAPR, RPR, an official court reporter from Battle Creek, Mich. Bader will soon be retiring from her court position and from the NRCF Board of Trustees.

“The NCRF Board of Trustees would like to thank Mary Bader for serving as a Trustee,” said NCRF Board of Trustees Chair Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, a retired court reporter from Battle Creek, Mich. “She has been an integral part of the Board, and we will miss her very much as she looks forward to retirement in the near future. She plans to enjoy spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. However, she also plans on continuing her dedication to our profession. Thank you, Mary!”

Currently serving as an official court reporter for the Eau Claire County Branch 2, Bader began her career in 1990. She has held membership in NCRA since 1988 and served as chair of the National Committee of State Associations from 2015-2017. She is also a member of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association, where she served on its board of directors from 2003 through 2013 and as its president from 2009 to 2011.

JCR | How long have you been an Angel?

MB | I really cannot tell you how many years I have been an Angel. I know it’s more than 10 because I have the pin and the beautiful clock to prove it. 

JCR | Clearly being an Angel is important to you. Why?

MB | Being an Angel is a fabulous way to give back to the profession that has been so good to me. Serving on NCRA committees and task forces is so important to moving our profession forward but being an Angel and being part of the Foundation is the best way I can think of to give back. 

JCR | What is your favorite NCRF program?

MB | The Foundation’s programs are wide and diverse. Our programs promote students and new professionals. Our legal education program provides useful information for law schools, state bar associations, law firms, and other legal professionals on how to make the best record. NCRF’s Veterans History Project is our way of contributing to preserving our nation’s history, and perhaps more importantly it is an avenue for veterans to tell their stories, so they are assured their sacrifices are not forgotten. 

Learn more about the NCRF Angel Donors program, or become an Angel.

OCRA to host VHP

View from the Pugh, an Ohio-based blog on faith, family, and community, posted a press release on Jan. 17 issued by NCRA announcing a Veterans History Project event being hosted by the Ohio Court Reporters Association in conjunction with the state’s Veterans of Foreign Wars mid-winter conference.

Read more.

#GivingTuesday thanks

Giving Tuesday was a success for the National Court Reporters Foundation with a collection of more than $4,000. The collection was made Dec. 3, 2019, the day considered by many as the kickoff to supporting others with donations and contributions through gift giving in the holiday season.

“Giving Tuesday is the chance for those of us who have truly thrived in our industry to help students in need, support the Foundation’s Oral Histories Program, and more,” said Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, NCRF chair and a retired court reporter from Battle Creek, Mich.

Giving is easy to do all year by texting NCRF to 41444.

Visit NCRA.org/NCRF to learn more about NCRF. Go to the NCRF mobile cause app to give.

Help us help you: A year-end donation to NCRF gives back to your profession

Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR

In 1980, the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) was formed to support the court reporting and captioning professions through philanthropic activities. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the philanthropic arm of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). The NCRF is an organization that serves the professions of court reporting and captioning by providing research, scholarships, and materials for promoting court reporting and captioning and later came to preserve the oral history of war veterans and Holocaust survivors, to assist new court reporting graduates smoothly enter the workforce, and so much more.

NCRF has flourished through its strong relationship with the NCRA membership for the past four decades, and while the traditional gift for a 40th anniversary is ruby, the Foundation is suggesting a much simpler token to honor this relationship.

To all NCRA members who have benefitted from the efforts of their national Association, who are hoping to pass along the legacy of  their profession to the next generation of court reporters and captioners, or those who believe that the spoken word should be recorded with precision and accuracy that only a stenographer can provide, we ask that you take the example that Director Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, offers and donate to the NCRF.

A small sampling of significant past accomplishments of NCRF include:

  • Awarding more than $110K in scholarships to court reporting and captioning students and new professionals
  • Establishing the Oral Histories Program, which partners with so many important organizations to preserve history, such as the Veterans History Project in conjunction with the Library of Congress
  • Issuing grants to deaf and hard-of-hearing organizations in support of realtime and CART services to provide them access to important information
  • Supporting research projects on state licensure and the cost benefits of court reporter technology
  • Developing CART guidelines in partnership with the American Judges Foundation
  • Managing participation in national court technology conferences
  • Establishing the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute to support new professionals

As the Foundation plans for the next 40 years, please help support NCRF’s continued growth and the success of the court reporting and captioning professions and put your money where your mouth is. Donate today.

Another way to donate is by texting 41444 and typing in Angel.