BASSFIELD, MS (WDAM) - Bassfield Regions Bank customers know her. Not just for her inspiration to colleagues and customers, but because she has been the head teller there for 55 years.
Sarah Stewart, a Branch Service Leader at the Bassfield Regions Bank, received the highest recognition the company offers for her dedication to the company.
In addition to the recognition, Regions donates $1,000 in the name of the recipient to a nonprofit organization of the winner's choice. Stewart chose the American Cancer Society's Jefferson Davis County Relay for Life, an annual event she helped start in 2003 after fighting her own battle with breast cancer.
"When the owner of the bank at the time asked me to come work for him, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do," Stewart said. "He told me, 'We want you to act just like this is your money and take care of it as if it's your own.' And that's how I've done it all these years."
A lifelong Bassfield resident, Stewart has known many of her customers all her life. Others are drawn to Stewart by loved ones and friends who have trusted her with their banking needs for decades.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and went through one year of combined radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Stewart still came to work. Many say that's a testament to her desire to serve others, no matter her circumstance.
"Working like she does and has for so long – even working through her health issues – shows what a source of strength Sarah is for her co-workers and customers," said Greg Garraway, Regions' area president for South Mississippi. "You don't do something like that for so long without impacting a number of lives. Everyone knows her; she's an icon."
"If it hadn't been for my co-workers and customers, I don't know what I would do," Stewart said. "I've loved them and they've supported me. They are all like my family."
Stewart volunteers with the Jefferson Davis County Relay for Life every year. When she learns of a cancer diagnosis in her community, she often reaches out to the patient, shares her story of fighting the disease and encourages the patient not to give up.
Stewart also serves as her church treasurer and volunteers as a Bible school teacher each summer.
Information for this article provided by a Region's Bank press release.