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Introducing your 2016 Notary of the Year Honorees

Every year we honor an extraordinary group of Notaries who go above and beyond their duties to serve their communities. Join us at the NNA 2016 Conference in Anaheim, California, this June to honor these dedicated individuals and find out who will be named Notary of the Year.

Notary of the Year 2016 Honoree Kelly Charpenet

Kelly Charpenet

Serves and Protects Her Community

Home: Santa Monica, California
Occupation: Notary, Advisory Board Member
Years She Has Been a Notary: 16

“Make sure you cross your t’s and dot your i’s.”

Kelly Charpenet is the kind of person who has to get involved. After opening her business, Santa Monica Notary & Live Scan, in a downtown office building, Charpenet used to encounter a group of homeless veterans living behind the building.

“I became friends with them and saw that they had a need that no one was addressing,” she said. Inspired by a John F. Kennedy quote, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

Charpenet reached out to a local community organization, Step Up On Second, to help homeless veterans. “I kept thinking of that quote and I told myself, ‘I can’t keep walking past these guys,’” Charpenet said. She ultimately helped all the homeless veterans on her block get off the streets. Charpenet and her co-workers continue to offer free Notary services to homeless people in the area who need legal documents notarized in order to obtain ID, shelter and other essentials for living.

Notary of the Year 2016 Honoree Elissa Davey

Elissa Davey

Provides a Helping Hand for Those in Need

Home: Vista, California
Occupation: Notary, Philanthropist, Part-time Real Estate Agent
Years She Has Been a Notary: 19

“You have to be kind and make sure everything is done right.”

A Notary with a heart of gold, Elissa Davey is passionate about lending a helping hand to anyone who needs assistance. That includes people who might not be able to acknowledge her help.

Davey, a long-time real estate agent and NSA, recalled the day she read a story about a baby’s body abandoned in a trash can. She was so haunted by the story that a month later, she called the San Diego County Coroner’s office and asked what happened to the baby. The coroner said he was still there and if no one claimed him, he would be placed in an unmarked grave.

That one episode changed her life and she went to work and founded Garden of Innocence, a nonprofit that provides a dignified resting place for abandoned and unidentified children. Since its start in 1999, the charity has provided burials for more than 300 babies with the help of a diverse group of volunteers ranging from police officers to florists to nuns and Eagle Scouts.

Notary of the Year 2016 Honoree Shirley Vanderbeck

Shirley Vanderbeck

A Passion for Law and Teaching

Home: LaVerne, California
Occupation: Paralegal, Notary, Teacher
Years She Has Been a Notary: 46

“You have to have a sense of humor in our kind of work.”

In the legal profession for over 50 years and a Notary for nearly as long, Shirley Vanderbeck is known as the lucky charm for attorneys. She has worked for five different attorneys as a legal secretary, all who later became appointed to the bench over the years.

Perhaps her own passion for education and self-improvement inspired her former bosses. She currently holds numerous separate credentials, including Certified Litigation Secretary Specialist, Certified Legal Assistant, Certified California Mediator, Certified Notary Signing Agent and a Registered Parliamentarian. She also has a California Lifetime Teaching Credential from UCLA. All this education isn’t just for her personal benefit. She shares her knowledge with other legal secretaries during training programs.

Vanderbeck’s dedication to helping her community extends beyond her profession. She contributes a considerable amount of her free time volunteering for an array of organizations, including the Los Angeles County Food Bank; the Ronald McDonald House Charity, which provides support for seriously ill children and their families; and the House of Ruth for Battered Women and Victims of Domestic Violence.

Notary of the Year 2016 Honoree Christine Wissbrun

Christine Wissbrun

A Strong Sense of Helping and Giving Back

Home: Rochester Hills, Michigan
Occupation: Administrative Aide
Years She Has Been a Notary: 20

“Sometimes it’s just helping out somebody or giving them a smile.”

As an administrative aide in the Rochester Hills City Clerk’s office, Christine Wissbrun’s life revolves around serving the public.

As a Notary with 20-plus years of experience, she has taken the notion of public service to the next level by working to improve the professionalism of all the Notaries in City Hall. One of her accomplishments was to create a “Mayor’s Administrative Policy” that details the responsibility and expectations of a Notary Public. Among other things, the policy includes a requirement for Notaries to keep a journal, something only Wissbrun was doing at the time. She also routinely shares articles about practices and standards with other Notaries in City Hall.

Wissbrun also embraces the spirt of public service outside the workplace. She is actively involved with the Rochester Hills Youth Government Council, which helps promote youth involvement in local government through active participation and engagement.

Related Articles:

NNA 2015 Highlights: LaQuita Gaskins named Notary of the Year

Celebrating the NNA 2015 Notary of the Year Honorees

View All: NNA News


Add your comment

Susan Kauffman

16 May 2016

How do these wonderful people get nominated? Just wondering how we could nominate someone we feel is worthy?

24 Jun 2016

I am a Paralegal and Notary Public in Louisiana, just inquiring about the requirements for nominations for notary of the year.

National Notary Association

30 Jun 2016

Hello and thank you for your inquiry. More information about the NOTY program and the online nomination form are available here:

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