FELICIA THOMAS 2016 KyCRA DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Friendship involves many things, but above all, the power of going outside oneself and appreciating what is noble and loving in another.
When Felicia was getting ready to graduate high school, she had no idea what to do with her life. Her then boyfriend, Kevin (now her husband) had a sister who had gone to court reporting school in Chicago and urged Felicia to go. So Felicia decided to attend a court reporting school 15 minutes from her house at that time. It was a perfect fit!
She completed court reporting school in Pompano Beach, Florida, where she worked, dictating to classes and proofreading students’ transcripts typed from paper notes. After her internship, she was hired by a reporting firm as their 33rd reporter. The owner of this firm had never hired a new reporter. Felicia said he didn’t know how to take care of a newbie and she had to learn many things on her own.
She worked in Florida for a year and then moved to Nashville, where she launched her own freelance firm, living and working there for ten years. She then moved to Bowling Green, where she has owned a firm for over 20 years now.
In the beginning, she had four reporters in her firm, making it the so-called largest reporting firm in Bowling Green at that time. Then the workers’ comp laws changed, leaving only enough work for her, leading her into a solo practice.
Felicia said that her most interesting case was the Heath High School shooting case in Paducah where three girls were killed. She took the depositions of the parties involved including the shooter, Michael Carneal. Many of you may remember that she wrote an article for the KyCRA newsletter and the JCR about her experience. She said, “It was rewarding, yet sad. It’s scary to think that 14-year-old boy could do such a thing.”
This has been a perfect career for Felicia. She was able to raise her two daughters and work and never had to miss any activities they were involved in. Alana, 24, is in graduate school at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She recently married David and is an awesome artist. Seane, 22, just graduated in December from Western Kentucky University with an undergraduate degree in Arabic and is the first Arabic major graduate from Western.
Her husband, Kevin, is her high school sweetheart, and they have been married for 31 years. Kevin is a very talented musician and plays in a band called Salem Hill that has been going strong since his college days. He graduated from Belmont in Nashville with a performance degree in music. He is currently employed as a disability representative.
Felicia has served on the KyCRA Board in many different positions, however, her tenure ended in September of 2014, after fulfilling many years of service. KyCRA has been so blessed with her time and efforts and her commitment to our profession. She also has served on many NCRA committees.
She is continuing to work as a freelance reporter, providing CART services to a deaf PhD student at Western and providing captioning services for the meetings of the Hearing Loss Association of America, Bowling Green Chapter. She volunteers her time to various service projects, including MEALS in Bowling Green and helping to feed the Tent People in Nashville.
Felicia loves her profession and says that it has provided her with a wonderful and fulfilling career. She is so proud of her daughters and the young women that they have become, and she is thankful for her husband because he has supported her in this profession, always wanting the very best for her. She told me, “One day my girls are going to buy me a house on the ocean and I’ll hang up my steno machine and become a wedding/event planner.” If that happens, I plan to visit her many, many times.
Felicia has been a wonderful friend to me and to KyCRA. She is a very special treasure that I am truly thankful for.