NAS Women’s Day event highlights work of women-led organization that supports area women

ARNOLD AFB, Tenn. – In recognition of International Women’s Day and the month of March as Women’s History Month, members of National Aerospace Solutions, LLC (NAS) organized an event held on March 13 at Arnold Air Force Base, highlighting the important work of Blue Monarch, a residential recovery program for women.

Jennifer Edmonston, NAS Human Resources Manager, said representatives of Blue Monarch were chosen to speak at this year’s event to provide information on the important role that the local, women-led organization plays in the community by giving women who are suffering from hardships the opportunity to get back on their feet.

“Blue Monarch is a nonprofit designed to serve women and children, who are currently recovering from physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse, alcohol or drug addictions, poverty, and mental health issues,” Edmonston said. “In my opinion, there is no better way to honor the spirit of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month than by giving back to an organization, like Blue Monarch, with the sole purpose of supporting and uplifting women and their children.”

“My hope is our employees walk away from today’s presentation with a better understanding of Blue Monarch’s mission and how they can support the organization, if desired.”

On behalf of NAS, Edmonston and NAS General Manager Dr. Rich Tighe presented Kate Cataldo, the Operations Director for Blue Monarch, with a check donation in the amount of $1,500.00.

Cataldo thanked NAS for the donation along with those in attendance for taking time to support the organization.

“We serve the most dedicated and most courageous women that I have ever met,” she said. “Blue Monarch is a ministry that not only treats the symptoms of addiction, but helps heal lives and rebuild families.”

Shakia Craig, a resident of Blue Monarch who will be graduating from the program in April, was invited to share her testimony. She mentioned that her life was unstable from the beginning, and at an early age she was abused in her own home.

“I was excited when I got to go see my Dad because I knew I would be safe there,” Craig said.

However, that soon changed, and Craig said she didn’t feel she had anyone or anywhere safe to turn. Though she found some solace in sports, Craig mentioned her grades in school suffered.

“I was a poor student because my home life was so unstable,” she said.

At 13, she tried drugs for the first time; and at 15, she got pregnant and moved with the father of her child to New Jersey.

For many years, she moved back and forth from Tennessee to New Jersey, and the cycle of abuse and addiction continued.

In 2015, Craig had twins and decided soon after that she wanted to change her life’s path.

“I cried out, ‘God there has got to be more than this,’” she said.

She reached out to Blue Monarch, receiving a spot for herself and her children there in 2018.

“I played the victim a lot at Blue Monarch, and they stood by me,” she said. “They showed me that I had to deal with the one person I had been running from…me.”

With the assistance from the devoted Blue Monarch staff and an amazing team of volunteers, Craig said she has become a better mother, taking her kids to church, playing games with them, and having dinners together as a family.

“My story is one of deliverance, development, and destiny,” she said. “I am no longer a victim. I am victorious.”

If interested in volunteering with Blue Monarch or donating to the organization, visit: www.bluemonarch.org.

National Aerospace Solutions, LLC, (NAS), General Manager Rich Tighe and Human Resources Manager Jennifer Edmonston, right side, present a donation to representatives from Blue Monarch, from left, Shakia Craig, a resident and soon-to-be graduate, and Kate Cataldo, operations director, during an event held by NAS recognizing Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day at Arnold Ar Force Base, Tenn., March 13, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

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