These five Notary of the Year Honorees embody the best traditions of the Notary Public office. Join us at the NNA 2013 Conference in Austin, Texas, this June to honor these dedicated individuals and find out who is named Notary of the Year!
A Promoter of Ethics and Accountability
Home: Dallas – Ft. Worth Area
Occupation: Owner, DashNotary- 24-Hour Traveling Notary Service
Years She Has Been a Notary: 4 years
“We are not just Notaries Public, we are fraud preventers — the frontline of defense.”
Notary of the Year Honoree Tonie Boaman decided to become a Notary when a former employer asked her to notarize documents using his seal. She refused, of course, but the request prompted her to obtain her own Notary commission. An articulate crusader for ethics and accountability, Boaman strives to educate the public about Notary responsibility and mentors other Notaries, ensuring their notarizations are performed correctly and accurately.
Besides her notarial training and certifications, she is an expert in handwriting analysis and has halted a number of potentially fraudulent notarizations by recognizing that the IDs were questionable. “Every day, you must watch out for and prevent fraud. It’s a critical part of our job,” she says. Boaman also does background searches for her own business and has discovered and reported unethical behavior.
In her community she is referred to as the “Resource Queen.” If someone has a need, she finds a solution. She considers her involvement with MetroRelief.org — a non-profit that runs a food bank and provides other free services to the homeless and jobless — as one of her most valuable personal contributions. Her core belief is that everyone should play to their strengths and use them to help others.
A Strong Advocate for Education and Responsibility
Home: Kalispell, Montana
Occupation: Consumer Loan Manager and VP of Glacier Bank
Years She Has Been a Notary: More than 25 years
“When you take the notarial oath, you become a public servant and must take that responsibility very seriously.”
Carolyn Barton’s many years of notarial service was recognized in 2010 when she was chosen Montana’s Notary of the Year, an honor that acknowledges exceptional service to the profession. One of the contributing factors may have been Barton’s request to the Montana Secretary of State to become the state’s first certified Notary trainer.
“I sought the certification after seeing a critical need for comprehensive Notary education. I wanted to contribute to the growth and development of the notarial profession and help my fellow Notaries,” she says.
Barton honors this commitment regularly by training all the Notaries for her employer, which entails traveling to other branches of her bank. “I try to instill in my students a sense of responsibility. I have an ‘open door’ policy and am always willing to offer advice or assistance.”
Responsibility is a code that also guides her personal life. She is a Board Member and volunteer for the Flathead County Food Bank, and during the holidays serves as a Salvation Army “bell-ringer.” Barton helps raise funds for the local museum, the Conrad Mansion, and was part of the “Big Sister, Big Brother” lunch hour mentorship program for grade school students. “I am committed to helping others, in my profession and in my personal life.”
John Kenneth Cole
Serving the Community with Integrity and Enthusiasm
Home: Arlington, Virginia
Occupation: Notary Public and Management Consultant with Insignia Federal
Years He Has Been a Notary: 4 years
“Being a Notary Public is about upholding and feeling pride in providing a needed service.”
Raised in a service-oriented family, John Kenneth Cole learned that helping others was an essential part of living a meaningful life. “Being a Notary gives me the opportunity to make a difference for someone at the beginning of their adult life, when they are buying a home or starting a business. And near the end when they sign their last documents — a living will or other final arrangements.”
Education and integrity are abiding principles in his professional and personal life. He recently became the 7th “e-Notary” in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is an advocate for training and education for new and veteran Notaries.
Cole takes his commitment to serve those in need very seriously, notarizing documents at no charge for hospice patients, the homeless, and members of the clergy. He assists with the Arlington County and Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps and donates “gallons” of plasma and platelets through the American Red Cross to help cancer patients. He also volunteers with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum — the result of world travel which confirmed his belief that “basic human rights should be extended to every citizen of the world.”
Marissa de Luna
Upholds the High Standards of the Notary Profession
Home: Santee, CA
Occupation: Mobile notary
Years She Has Been a Notary: Over 10 Years
“I serve my clients responsibly and ethically, and I care deeply about protecting their confidence and assets.”
Being a Notary is the focal point of Marissa de Luna’s life; she loves to serve people and makes herself available, even late at night. “I am a Notary and I am there when someone needs me – 24/7.” Believing that education protects both Notaries and signers, she makes sure that new clients understand that Notaries are public officials serving as impartial witnesses.
De Luna is always accessible to her peers. “If they have a question I can’t answer, I check with the NNA, and then I learn something new myself.” Concerned that Notaries have no formal means of identifying themselves, she has a future goal in mind working to develop a standardized ID card for Notaries that would bear the Notary’s picture, name, details of the commission, and professional affiliations.
In spite of her busy professional life, she finds time to volunteer in countless USA Track & Field events, and helped organize the U.S. Olympic Trials for the 50-Kilometer Race Walk. She owns registered service animals, which she takes to senior homes and centers for pet therapy, and helps fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, demonstrating that “Notaries can serve their community in any number of ways.”
Raising the Bar for the Notary Profession
Home: Glendale, Arizona
Occupation: Notary Signing Agent
Years She Has Been a Notary: 9 years
“You should always do your job as if you were the one sitting in the signer’s chair.”
Kathy Fletcher has spent much of her life serving others. Prior to becoming a Notary, she worked in Adult Day Health Care, gaining awareness of the needs of seniors. “My cousin continually encouraged me to become a Notary, declaring my background, personality, organizational skills and integrity were a perfect fit for the profession,” she says. When she followed that advice, she found her life’s passion.
Fletcher helps raise the bar by mentoring other Notaries and pursuing statutory revisions. Her online survey of 350 colleagues uncovered some basic changes that would benefit Arizona Notaries — requirements for a journal thumbprint and certified Notary training, and a fee-increase in the fee schedule. She’s presented the findings to state legislators for consideration. Fletcher also has serves as an NNA Notary Ambassador, and encourages new Notaries to join the NNA for professional growth.
Fletcher serves the senior community by providing notarizations at adult facilities, often at no charge, and helps seniors apply for low income dental work, meals on wheels, Social Security disability or drives them to appointments. She is a member of the Paseo Verde Church Women’s Ministry which reaches out to women on the White River Indian Reservation, and helps with a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.