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Court interpreter picked as Employee of the Year in Brooklyn Supreme Court

November 24, 2019 By Caroline Ourso
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Members of the Brooklyn court community packed the lobby of the Supreme Court, Civil Term, on Tuesday afternoon for a ceremony for Nancy Hernandez, a court interpreter who was named Employee of the Year.

“We’ve established this award as a means of recognizing those who perform above and beyond that which is expected of them,” said Justice Lawrence Knipel, the administrative judge of the court. “Today, we celebrate the achievements of our newest employee of the year, Nancy Hernandez.

“We salute you, Nancy, and thank you for your devoted service,” continued Knipel.

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Cristina Elbaum, left, with Nancy Hernandez.

The court employees were joined by many of Hernandez’s family members, who were easy to spot due to their excitement in seeing her recognized after working for more than three decades in the court.

A number of employees of the court spoke briefly about what makes Hernandez stand out as an exemplary employee, including Chief Clerk Charles Small.

“I want to commend her work outside of the court and inside of the court,” said Small, referencing Hernandez’s support and advocacy for immigrants’ rights and criminal justice reform.

Justice Lizette Colon and Nancy Hernandez.

Hernandez has worked in the court system for 31 years and became a court interpreter just three years ago. Her supervisor at her relatively new position, Cristina Elbaum, praised her for her friendly character and strong work ethic in those three years.

“Thank you, Nancy, for your diligence, great disposition and for coming to work every single day,” said Elbaum.

After she was presented with the award by Elbaum, Hernandez thanked a long list of coworkers and family members who have supported her throughout her career. She described the atmosphere at the courthouse as family-like and said that the supportive atmosphere enabled her to bring her children with her occasionally when they were little.

Court employees like Maria Aragona, president of the Catholic Lawyers Guild and a past Employee of the Year recipient, and family members both rushed Nancy Hernandez to shower her with flowers and praise after the ceremony ended.

“I am honored grateful, humbled and nervous,” said Hernandez. “This is a very special day for me.

“My two children were raised here and they would come to work with me on their school breaks in the 1990s and early 2000s. Coming to work here at this Supreme Court was one of the best decisions I made, because it truly is a wonderful place to work.”

Hernandez explained that it was this work environment that helped her to show her children the importance of hard work. In fact, her daughter, Celina Collado-Bedoya, now works at 360 Adams St., as well, and her son just started a job in the Queens court system.

“We’re really excited for her,” said Hernandez’s son, Elvis Collado.

“I’m super proud of my mom,” said Collado-Bedoya. “This award is a long time coming.”


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