Montana’s Notary of the Year

Jerry Burley, assistant vice president and loan officer at Freedom Bank on Friday was awarded Notary of the Year by Montana Sec. of State Linda McCulloch.

Burley has been a notary since the early ‘90s, getting his start in banking fresh out of high school.

He grew up in Broadus and, following his love of accounting, took a job bookkeeping at a bank in Ashlan.

The job required him to be a notary, so he became one.

The process as he recalled it was not difficult.

“Back in the day, it was just fill out a form, and the bank paid for the bonding, and I took a training and they sent the certificate,” he said.

Being a notary is fairly simple, he said. Any time a legal document needs notarized, he confirms the ID of the person signing, keeps a log, and adds a stamp to the document confirming he notarized it.

“Jerry Burley epitomizes what it means to be Montana Notary of the Year,” said McCulloch. “He was chosen from a strong field of nominees for demonstrating exceptional services and high standards of practice.”

Montana Notary of the year nominees were evaluated on their longevity, variety of documents notarized, use of notary journal, community service, and exceptional notary service.

McCulloch started the Montana Notary of the Year award in 2009 in an effort recognize the invaluable work done by notaries in Montana.

“Notaries are the first line of defense against many types of fraud as they are responsible for determining the identity of the person who signs a document, swears an oath, or performs any of the other acts that require a notary public. I’m eager to present this award to such a deserving notary public,” McCulloch said.

Burley is involved in the community, which factored in to being named Notary of the Year.

He was a member of the Columbia Falls Chamber of Commerce for 10 years, and has served as treasurer of the Gateway to Glacier trail for the past three.

Because he was named Montana Notary of the year, Burley is automatically nominated for the National Notary of the Year award given annually by the National Notary Association.

Burley’s wife, Joanne, their daughter Kristen and granddaughter Avery were all present at the award ceremony at Freedom Bank on Friday.

Although he now works as a lender at Freedom Bank rather than the accounting and bookkeeping that first got him interested, he says that his favorite aspect of being a notary has remained the same.

“I think mainly it’s the people that come through, the conversations I have with them while they sign. It’s just getting to know people,” he saidJERRY SEC DON

Affordable Housing for Columbia Falls

Stable, affordable housing is critical to education, health, and economic success across our area. Habitat for Humanity’s unique home ownership program allows hardworking, low-income families to build and buy a home.

Currently, Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley is in the middle of an affordable housing project in Columbia Falls. This 16-unit townhouse development will be completed by 2015 and to date they have placed 8 families into new homes. These homes are constructed by volunteers and materials are paid for by donations and earnings from two second-hand furniture stores.

Habitat for Humanity is always looking for more volunteers to help. If you are unable to help, consider a donation. Freedom Bank recently made a sizable donation to Habitat for Humanity to help them improve our community. Please consider helping this great organization achieve their goal of providing affordable housing to our neighbors in need.