As we begin the search for the 2012 Notary of the Year to be honored at next year’s Conference in San Diego, the NNA takes a look back at past distinguished NOTY recipients over the years. This week’s profile is 2002 NOTY Michael J. Finland. When Michael J. Finland was named Notary of the Year in 2002, what most distinguished him was his passionate commitment to education. In fact, his profile in The National Notary magazine described him as an “incurable teacher.” Today, that is just as true as ever. He also is an incurable student. “Education has been a huge theme my whole life,” Finland said in a recent interview. “I value it and I try to share it with people.” At the time he was honored, he possessed associate’s degrees in communications and paralegal studies as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Since then, he’s added another associate’s degree, in computer programing, and a law degree. A career civilian administrator with the Suffolk County Police Department on Long Island, New York, Finland is deeply involved in training uniformed and civilian personnel, and helping officers prepare cases for trial. Being named Notary of the Year provided a significant boost on the job. His supervisors took notice and offered him the opportunity to become one of the few civilians in the department to take part in a special public speaking training program. Now he goes to public events in the community to explain police programs and initiatives. He also has become the go-to person in the department for Notary training and assistance. While Finland originally studied focused on real estate law, he has now moved into labor law. Long active in his union, the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees, he has represented workers in disciplinary hearings and has participated in contract negotiations. Finland also has maintained his commitment to serving others. He volunteers to teach English as a second language classes on the weekends and spends much of the rest of his spare time as a volunteer counselor at a local crisis center or mentoring other Notaries. “I’m always talking up NNA membership,” he said.