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2016 Notary Of The Year Elissa Davey

2016 Notary of the Year Elissa Davey

(Originally published in the August 2016 issue of The National Notary magazine.)

There are people on this earth who dedicate their lives to helping others. They are protectors that shield others from harm, or they serve as a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Elissa Davey of Vista, California, is both — a protector and a voice.

“We are meant to do only two things on earth — love one another and help one another,” Davey said. “Everything else is just sidelines.”

During her nearly two decades as a Notary, the retired Realtor has lived by that philosophy — both as a Notary and a philanthropist. She became a Notary because she wanted to provide full services to her real estate clients. If they needed something notarized, they could count on Davey to make that happen. “If I can help them by this tiny thing, then it will make their lives easier, and I will walk away feeling better too,” she said.

Davey is the kind of person who can see a tragedy and respond by doing something positive. Such was the case in 1999 when she read an article about a baby’s body found abandoned in a trash can in San Diego. Inspired by the story, she founded Garden of Innocence, a nonprofit that provides a dignified resting place for abandoned and unidentified children.

Whether it’s an elderly signer who is being coerced by family members during a signing or claiming an abandoned infant, she does not hesitate to become their protector and champion. For these reasons, the NNA is proud to recognize Elissa Davey as its 2016 Notary of the Year.

Protecting Signers

Even though she does not perform a lot of notarizations, she approaches each one with a commitment to protecting the signer. Her parents taught her the value of helping others while showing integrity, honesty and fairness.

The clients she is most concerned about are the elderly signers and hospital patients. She wants to protect them against fraud and abuse, especially from dishonest family members. “I’m not going to be the one to cause a rift in the family by allowing someone to have a power of attorney when they shouldn’t,” Davey said.

As a Notary, she sees herself as the shield that helps prevent greedy individuals from taking something that is not rightfully theirs. During signings, she’ll ask family members to leave the room, creating a safe space for the signer. She then proceeds to ask the signer if they are willingly there to continue with the notarization.

She has no compunction about walking away from a notarization appointment if she believes something is amiss. She is there to protect people from being pressured into signing unwanted paperwork.

Despite wanting to help in all aspects during signings, Davey knows her boundaries and state laws. Just because she understands the wording in many documents, she won’t provide advice about them. If her signers have any questions, she always recommends that they speak to the appropriate person for clarification.

Giving Dignity

For Davey, the Garden of Innocence has become her true calling. Her first unforgettable encounter opened Davey’s eyes to the fact that there were many forgotten children, which inspired her to create the Garden of Innocence. Since then, the charity has provided burials for more than 300 babies. The first service was held in San Diego, California, and now there are gardens throughout the state, as well as one in Missouri.

Davey accepts caskets and urns donated from woodworkers from across the country, and receives help from volunteers from various walks of life, including police officers, knitters, florists and Eagle Scouts. Davey’s efforts bring public attention to these abandoned children. The Gardens also help another group of unfortunate people — would-be parents who lost an unborn child through miscarriage or other circumstance and need help with the grieving and healing process.

They are invited to attend the funeral of one of the abandoned children. They often read a poem during the service, and are given the opportunity to name the child after their loved one. Allowing them to be part of the service helps them cope with their own loss and find closure, Davey said.

Davey will be setting up four more gardens in California, but her ultimate goal is to have at least one in every state. That goal got a boost during the NNA 2016 Conference, when so many Notaries from many different states approached her to ask how they could help. “Having Notaries around me willing to help has been a gift,” she says.

Being announced Notary of the Year was an overwhelming feeling for Davey because it was unexpected. However, she remains humble and hopeful for what the future has in store.

Cindy Medrano is the Social Media Coordinator at the National Notary Association.


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