Steward Spotlight: Region 19
If Region 19 co-chief stewards Rebecca Ramsey and Sarah Edwards had a theme song for their partnership in stewarding fellow MAPE members, it’d be “You’ve got a friend in me,” not only because of their steadfast commitment to supporting members in need, but also because of their genuine friendship with one another.
“I met Becky in prison,” Edwards says with a laugh.
The two met in 2018 when Edwards joined the behavioral health team at the Faribault Correctional Facility, where Ramsey has worked nearly 20 years.
Pictured at right, Ramsey (left) and Edwards (right).
“I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” Ramsey says. “We’ve always had a really great group of people involved in MAPE here. They welcomed me, educated me on the importance of MAPE and working together and taught me about the value of power in numbers and working for a greater cause.”
It’s no surprise that Edwards recalls a similar introduction to State service and MAPE involvement when Ramsey welcomed her to the Dept. of Corrections (DOC).
“This was my first union position and Becky did her spiel and wanted to make sure I was a MAPE member,” Edwards says, smiling. “And this is going to get cheesy, but the reason I chose to get involved with MAPE is because when I started at the DOC it was hard for me, and Becky was essentially my unofficial sounding board and she provided a lot of support to me.”
Ramsey says she, too, knows the value of a helping hand when you need it most.
“There was a period of time I needed a steward and I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know how I'll get through this,’” Ramsey recalled. “I’ve thought many times since then it’ll always be really important to me to pay that back.”
So Ramsey became a steward and has since recruited Edwards to be her partner in fighting injustices against union rights and colleagues.
“When I got to a good space in my own mental health, I was like ‘I need to be a steward and more involved,’ because people need this whether they’re just a few days into a new job or been with us 20 years,” Edwards said.
Edwards now works at the forensic nursing home in St. Peter, and also volunteers as the steward coordinator for their region, something that has allowed her a front row seat to all the good things MAPE stewards are doing in Region 19.
“My experience with the stewards I've interacted with is that they will really do anything to support our members,” Edwards said. “It gets hard balancing everything because I take on a lot and want to help, but knowing I have a good group and the support I have with Becky, it’s not just all on my shoulders.”
Ramsey shares the same feeling toward Edwards and their team of stewards - a true “you’ve got a friend in me” mindset.
“Every one of my weaknesses is Sarah’s strength. We make a great team, so it’s so much easier to work together,” Ramsey said. “We have the same philosophies about helping people and we will always be the first one to offer to help a member in need.”