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Five Exemplary Notaries Public Named 2014 Notary of the Year Honorees by the National Notary Association

Los Angeles, California - May 30, 2014

Recognition and Awards for the Notary Office’s ‘Highest Honor’ to be Presented June 3 at the NNA 2014 Conference in Phoenix

LOS ANGELES, May 30, 2014 – The National Notary Association (NNA) is proud to announce that five American Notaries Public, who personify the best of public service and consumer protection, have been named 2014 Notary of the Year Honorees. These five dedicated individuals will be recognized during the NNA’s 36th annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, June 3.

This year’s recipients include Valerie Barrett of Irvine, California; Tara Bradford of Bozeman, Montana; Lucius Morris of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Michelle Riley of Homewood, Alabama; and David Shean of Pasadena, California.

Established in 1990, the NNA’s Notary of the Year designation is the highest honor an American Notary Public can earn. The award program recognizes Notaries whose actions and accomplishments go above and beyond their basic commissioned duty. The honor is based on the candidate’s achievements in notarial performance, community service, efforts to lobby for Notary legislative reform, and their dedication to elevating the trust and integrity of the American Notary Public office.

2014 Notary of the Year Honorees:

Valerie Barrett (Irvine, California) is a Mobile Notary who goes above and beyond for her community. She mentors new Notaries, runs errands for signers with health problems after notarizing their documents, provides meals for children in the foster care system and helps them with tips on resumes, job interviews and other important life skills. Barrett also visits health care facilities with attorneys to give talks on what Notaries do. “One of the things I enjoy most about being a Notary is the opportunity to work with all kinds of people. It’s challenging and rewarding,” said Barrett.

Tara Bradford (Bozeman, Montana) was named Montana’s Notary of the Year in 2013 and serves as Director of Encompass Orphan Care. She works tirelessly to empower orphans, educate those who want to adopt children, and provide a network of support for families at every stage of the journey. She is passionate about her role as a Notary, travels to speak at conferences, goes out of her way to ensure privacy for her signers, and doesn’t charge for her services. “I became a Notary to ensure adoptive families’ documents, and their process, are as efficient and trustworthy as possible,” said Bradford.

Lucius Morris (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is the youngest person to pass the Louisiana Notary Public exam and plays an active role in the Louisiana Notary Association. Unlike most states, Louisiana Notaries have an expanded role in the state’s legal system. Morris volunteers to review pending state legislation affecting Notaries, teaches classes for fellow Notaries, helps military veterans prepare wills, notarizes bar application documents for graduating law students at no cost, and volunteers with a local animal adoption organization. “Being a Notary is not about the bottom line on a financial statement; it’s a moral obligation to help those in need,” said Morris.

Michelle Riley (Homewood, Alabama) is a benefits advisor by day and a Notary activist by night. Riley founded Notaries4Alabama to create mentoring, training and networking opportunities for her community. She’s hosted successful events connecting with several dozen probate judges in the area, city and state government officials, including Secretary of State Jim Bennett. Bennett asked Riley to review the state handbook and provide suggestions for any areas that need to be updated. “Although my state straddles the fence on journal keeping, I can’t imagine doing my job without it and I hope Alabama will make it mandatory,” said Riley.

David Shean (Pasadena, California) has nearly half a century of experience in real estate, is a former president of the California Escrow Association (CEA), a Notary Signing Agent and an escrow consultant who advocates for strict ethical and professional standards. He educates the industry and public about the importance of Notaries, writes articles for the CEA on escrow and Notary issues, teaches Notaries about the escrow process, and has testified as an expert witness in criminal cases involving forged Notary seals. Shean actively supports legislation to help Notaries do their jobs better. “What we do is critically important,” said Shean.

About the National Notary Association
Established in 1957, the National Notary Association (NNA) is the leading professional authority on the American Notary office and is dedicated to educating, serving and advocating for the nation’s 4.4 million Notaries. It published the Model Notary Act to help lawmakers enact effective legislation and created The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility — a standard for best practices and professional conduct. To learn more, visit