Next up in our Meet the COG series is Ruth Stage!
Ruth is one of the COG’s Service Excellence Specialists and was interviewed by Stacy Adams.
What in your life has given you inspiration?
I think it comes down to 3 “F”s. Faith, family and friends. I grew up in a Christian home. In school, I had to work for my grades. It was always a given that I would go to college. My dad insisted on that. So when I went to college my friends became very influential. I wanted to meet their expectations. They gave me encouragement. My intent was to be a nurse. When I graduated from high school my aunt gave me a watch with a second hand to count seconds for nursing. The college I went to did not have a nursing program but was supposed to get one. In my second year I went on a trip in Washington, D.C. where we were working with inner city programs to help the poor. We were helping people move from low income housing into better housing. I became very inspired by a family that had a baby. The baby had no clothes and I wrapped the baby in my coat for a few days while we helped them get housing. I ended up with the flu but it was then that I decided to go into social work. This was where my faith came in. I decided that I wanted to help people less fortunate. I had grown up in a Christian home but it wasn’t always the best environment. My faith in God and help from my friends helped me during that time in my life. My family also has given me inspiration.
My husband is my best friend. If we are not working we are together. He is the biggest influence in my life. He encourages me to do things that I don’t think I can do. I also teach the ASPIRE/GED classes part time. Because grades weren’t easy for me it makes me want to help other people. I can relate to how they feel. They want to give up because it is too hard. I encourage them by telling them that if they take the time they can do it! I tell them they can do anything they want to do and it gives me so much inspiration to see them succeed.
What is your favorite time of the day?
I would say about 8:30 at night. It is the time of day that my husband and I take to reflect on the day. It is quiet. Even when our kids were still at home it has always been our time. We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly and just unwind. Even if we still have things to do or if I am just getting home from teaching GED we put things away until the next day and we chill. When the kids were young we would play cards or board games and just talk.
What do you consider one of your greatest accomplishments?
My family. I am fortunate to have my husband. For us, marriage was for keeps. It was a commitment. We spent many nights talking until two am if we needed to work through issues. Our philosophy was to never go to sleep angry. We couldn’t sleep if there was an issue anyways so we felt like we might as well work through it. For us, marriage wasn’t something you could walk away from. So we made the commitment to make our marriage what we wanted it to be. We also knew it was a gift we could give to our kids. We wanted our kids to see that we loved each other and we were committed to each other. I feel like we raised two great kids. They both chose to go to college. They both have a family. I have grandkids that I adore. I just had three of them all weekend. They are the light of my life. We have the grandkids as much as we possibly can. We have also always had a dog. Our dog Gracie is 15 years old. She sleeps with us. She goes away with us. A lot of our dogs were brought home by our kids but my first dog my husband got me a week before we got engaged. Agape, was actually my very first pet. He was a toy collie. He was so small that he had a hard time just walking in the grass.
What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
My favorite thing is camping. We are so anxious to get going in the spring! We start as early as April and can go as late as November. The grandkids love it. We go to Hocking Hills in southern Ohio and go hiking or just drive around and see scenery. We also like the Loudonville area. We enjoy going to Amish country. We generally go there 4 or 5 times a year and have our favorite places to visit. Sometimes we go to Delaware State Park or The Cardinal Center. We just like to get away and be out in nature. We bought a camper with bunks in the back so there is plenty of room for our grandkids. My granddaughter calls it “her” camper. It’s a time to relax, sit outside, build a campfire and roast marshmallows.
What are you looking forward to?
Retirement! My husband’s goal when we got married was to go to all 50 states and 3 countries. We have both been to Canada. He’s been to a few more states than me already because of being in Boy Scouts as well as taking trips with our daughter when she was in high school. After we retire we want to get in the camper and go! My son always says we should move to Florida after we retire but there is no way I could live that far away from my kids and grandkids. My husband really wants to go to Alaska and I want to go to Hawaii and we haven’t gotten to either one yet, but it’s a goal!