As a vetrepreneur, I served as a US Army Sergeant from 1993 to 1998 with tours abroad that included South Korea, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. My husband, Jim, is a retired US Army vet, and our son is a third-year Army ROTC cadet at Florida State University.

On this Veterans Day, I wanted to take a minute to profile another proud veteran court reporter, Karen Stanfield.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Karen, a court reporter at Barrett Court Reporting. Her story, as with all veterans’ stories, is inspiring.

Tell us a bit about your military career.
I began my military service in 1992 in the United States Air Force specializing in medical administration, mobile surgical hospitals, decontamination procedures, aerovac duties and Spanish interpretation for various military installations.

I was named Hispanic Airman of the Year during my military career and received various medals including: Air Force Training Ribbon, Air Force Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, National Defense Service Medal, Outstanding Unit Medal, Expeditionary Service Medal and was awarded The Operation Enduring Freedom Medal after deployment in response to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

What inspired you to start a career in stenography?
I was going home on leave from the military, and in the front pocket of the airplane seat was a magazine. One of the articles in it was titled, “High paying jobs that most people don’t know about.” It included stenography. I had always been curious about how stenography worked, so as soon as I got back to my base, I researched it. And I instantly knew that I would love to do this job. I loved the idea of being the guardian of the record and knowing that in some cases, because of me, the words I captured would be inscribed in history forever.

What did you do next? How did you start?
I enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force and the Court Reporting Institute in Shoreline, Washington, and after 20 months of schooling, I obtained my court reporting certification from the State of Washington.

In 2001, I moved to Pinellas County, Florida to begin my career in court reporting. I am a Registered Court Reporter working on obtaining my RMR and CRR certifications.

Do you focus on anything else besides court reporting?
In addition to court reporting, I transcribe law enforcement audio files from Spanish to English for agencies including the Hillsborough County State attorney’s office. My testimony and transcripts have been accepted and entered as evidence in the trial by the Court.

What are your interests outside stenography and the military?
Though you would never know it, I have a cleft palate. I work with the Smile Train organization, which provides free cleft repair surgery to children in third-world countries. The before-and-after pictures of these precious children smiling are just priceless.

My daughter, Ruby Rae, is adopted. Older children awaiting adoption are very near and dear to my heart because they are so hard to place and often spend years waiting for a loving family. The Hope Children’s Home in Tampa is a local orphanage that I help out as often as I can.

I also enjoy watching old black-and-white movies, listening to True Crime audiobooks, the beach, gardening, tai chi, watching my daughter at her Karate class and spending time doing family activities.

Thank you, Karen, for taking the time to share your story! And a HUGE thank you for your service. We hope you have a wonderful Veterans Day!