MARYLYNN COTTON: Thank you. Hello everyone. It is my pleasure as the committee chair for the Distinguished Service Award this year to make a few brief comments without giving away who the recipient is yet. But today ACRA will present it's 34th DSA ‑‑ 34. The DSA is the highest award our association can bestow upon a person who has generously given their time, their knowledge, and their many efforts to our profession.
It is someone who always seems to go the extra mile to give back to the reporting profession, whether through board service, legislative activities, education, committee work, pro bono service, or someone who simply puts himself or herself out there in the promotion of our profession: Court reporting.
I am sure there have been instances in the past where an individual has been nominated by more than one person. And that did happen this year. More than one person nominated this year's recipient. In fact, I hope I'm not breaking any rules by telling you that the person who is receiving the award this year was nominated by more than 20 people. I myself have had the privilege of working with this person, and I have always admired their work ethic, their wealth of knowledge, their devotion to the court reporting field, and their willingness to always help others.
I am thrilled that this person today will receive a small token of appreciation for their many years of service. So I will now turn time over to Mary Onuschak who is going to introduce this year's recipient for the Distinguished Service Award.
MARY ONUSCHAK: Let me get my glasses. And thank you very much.
I am so happy to be here with all of you to present the Distinguished Service Award to this year's recipient. It is a great honor and very humbling to be able to tell you that this person, as I have known her practically from her first depositions on ‑‑ I remember filing my first depo with this person, who was so incredibly shy that they didn't want to ask in person after the deposition if the attorneys wanted a copy or not but said, I'll call their office later. I know there are many students here who will feel exactly the same when you start out.
But let me tell you now how this person has grown and flourished. This recipient is not only an Arizona Certified Court Reporter but also a certified realtime reporter. And a certified merit reporter. And a certified realtime captioner. And a certified legal video specialist. That's pretty impressive. But this really does not compare to what this recipient's service to the court reporting community has been.
Being a trailblazer, she became a Case CATalyst certified trainer. This is when computers and software were in their infancy. She would come to reporters' homes and calmly help set up the software and explain how to use the software, often to court reporters who were very timid about learning this new way of performing court reporting.
She became a closed captioner performing CART for the hearing impaired students in very difficult curriculums. Did I mention wildfires? Oh, yes. She also captions for wildfire coverage ‑‑ at the wildfires. She also has her very own successful court reporting firm in Phoenix. She will help any reporter anytime with any problem regardless of where they work.
One reporter remembers a few years ago when she was working on a very big case with lots of confidential portions. One of the attorneys would always say, I want to designate a portion of that testimony, but I'll wait for the transcript to come out. She said she called our honoree in a panic saying, This is confusing. This is just too much for me. Our honoree said, Let's meet and we'll get it done, never hesitating. She said our honoree got her through it with the same patience and grace I've come to know and appreciate. And never once did she make me feel embarrassed about my technical abilities. However, she did decide in order not mess up the file ‑‑ she named the file appropriately Save My Ass.
There is no doubt that many of us can attest to her willingness to drop whatever may be occurring in her life to help us out of a bind or if we have a question. She has given herself entirely toward the ACRA organization for many years as board member and executive director. Her commitment to excellence and her tireless work ethic has been an inspiration to all of us.
Her selfless service, leadership, and dedication to our profession has made our court reporting community a better one. So now we would like to recognize and thank her by presenting the distinguished service award to Kim Portik.
KIM PORTIK: I'm not sure how I'm supposed to speak after that. Public speaking's not my thing anyway. All I can say is thank you for the honor. Thank you recognizing the stories. Yes, the file was called Save My Ass.
This actually ‑‑ to be a part of this organization and to be around so many smart people in the room and the efforts that people put into this organization to keep this business going is incredible, and it's such a privilege to be a part of it in any way. And for me, being a part of it started when Marty was president. And he and Pam actually approached me, and I kept saying, I've never even been to a board meeting. How could I possibly be on the board? And their explanation was very simple: If you can just give a little bit, that takes the pressure of the rest of us to be able to do a little bit more, and just give as much as you can, and we can do a little bit more, which then grew into this.
So I encourage all of you, give just a little bit so the next person can give a little bit more, and you will be so rewarded. You get so much more than you ever give. Thank you.