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Mother focuses on daughter while trying to rebuild life after leaving abusive marriage

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM 
                                Reketta Montgomery embraces her daughter, Qaydenz Montgomery, who holds their dog, Baibee.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Reketta Montgomery embraces her daughter, Qaydenz Montgomery, who holds their dog, Baibee.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM 
                                Reketta Montgomery says she has made self-care a priority so she can be strong for her daughter, Qaydenz Montgomery.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Reketta Montgomery says she has made self-care a priority so she can be strong for her daughter, Qaydenz Montgomery.

After leaving an abusive marriage, 43-year-old Reketta Montgomery is on the path toward rebuilding her life.

Her main priority is the well-being of her 18-year-old daughter, Qaydenz Montgomery, from a previous relationship. “She is my rock,” she said.

Helping Hands Hawaii, a nonprofit organization that helps families overcome obstacles, has partnered with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and First Hawaiian Bank for the annual Good Neighbor Fund campaign to help families in need during the holiday season.

The campaign assists the agency’s various programs such as the nonprofit’s Adopt A Family Program and Emergency Assistance Program.

Originally from North Carolina, Montgomery, a 20-year Air Force veteran, said she fell into depression after her marriage to her wife began to crumble and turn abusive.

She thought their relationship would improve if she loved her spouse more than herself. “I was blinded by love, blinded by stupidity, blinded by thinking if I love you more and love me less, this will work,” Montgomery said.

An alleged assault by her wife’s friends earlier this year following the couple’s separation also left her traumatized.

At the time, Montgomery was attending Chaminade University studying environmental and interior design. Faced with financial challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic and still rattled by the alleged attack, she left college. “I was still shaken really, really bad,” she said.

The Domestic Violence Action Center has helped her move forward and regain her inner strength.

Generally, victims of domestic abuse experience a range of emotions when they pivot and rebuild their lives, said Chief Executive Officer Nanci Kreidman of the organization. “You marry somebody and you have a vision of what your life is going to be like and you invest in that vision and having to change it and abandon it is fraught with all kinds of emotional and psychological after-effects.”

“And stabilizing yourself at the same time, you’re abandoning that vision and changing direction looking to create a new future is pretty unimaginable for most people,” Kreidman said, noting memories of harm interfere with moving forward and the confidence to make the right choices.

Montgomery has made a concerted effort to forge ahead. She found a two-bedroom apartment for herself and her daughter from a previous marriage in a neighborhood on the south shore of Oahu.

She is also in the process of filing for a divorce from her estranged wife.

Her mother, Wanda Rhodes, described Montgomery as an intelligent and sensible woman who lost her sense of self in the toxic relationship. “I pray for her all the time,” Montgomery’s mother said in a phone interview from North Carolina.

Montgomery said she is undergoing therapy and has made self-care a priority to be strong for her daughter. “If I’m not mentally healthy, I can’t be physically healthy, spiritually healthy,” she said.

Her daughter, a gymnast who loves Japanese manga (cartoons), is her main focus as they continue to move forward together. “That’s all I can do is move forward,” Montgomery added.

How to help

>> To make a monetary donation, individuals may drop off cash or checks at any First Hawaiian Bank branch statewide. Checks may be made payable to the “Good Neighbor Fund.” The deadline to drop off monetary donations is Dec. 31. To donate specifically to the Mongtomery family, include the code: DVAC-059.

>> Donors also may mail checks to Helping Hands Hawaii, 2100 N. Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96819, or go online to 808ne.ws/good neighbor. Click on the “donate” box and then “Good Neighbor Fund” in the drop-down options.

For more information, call Helping Hands Hawaii at 440-3800.

THE GOOD Neighbor Fund helps support Adopt A Family, which provides assistance to those who are facing some kind of struggle, whether it be finances, health, employment or otherwise. Here is a list of donors and the amount they contributed:

WEEK ENDING DEC. 12

Barbara S. Yeackel $1,000

Honolulu Sunrise Rotary Foundation $1,000

Ralph Rosenberg $1,000

Gayle Y. Harimoto $750

Mary Ann North $700

3-Fold Craftsman Construction Inc. $500

Alaka’i Kealoha, Kylee Copp $500

Beverly Y. Hamada $500

Clara E. Tamashiro $500

In loving memory of my parents, William and Jayne Gibson $500

In memory of Takeo & Mitsue Abe $500

Joyce T. Nouchi $500

Matt, Andy and Carly $500

Milton and Flo Kakaio $500

Noreen H.S. Louie $500

P&J $500

Sam Yee $500

Sarah Fincke $500

The Saito Family $500

Verna K. Uchima $500

Alan R. Papst $300

Chole Haena $300

Daniel Heu $300

In memory of Tiger $300

Jeanette K. Kohatsu $300

Joanne Tetsutani $300

Kyler, Ross & Mari $300

Stephen S.F. Choy $300

John M. Miyamasu $250

Leslie Kegley $250

Mahalo for helping those who need “assist”… 🙂 $250

Mark Brinkley $250

Clifford K. Nishimura $200

David J. Randell, M.D. $200

Dennis J. Kawahara $200

Elaine & Jamie Wong $200

Frances Oshita $200

Garret Masuda $200

Glenn S.C. Lau $200

In memory of Nikko Turgeau $200

Judith Goldman $200

Kailua Glass, LLC $200

Karen K. Roldan $200

Kay M. Yoneshige $200

Roger H. Williams $200

Ronald D. Moore, M.D. $200

Sharon K. Stahl $200

Vera Arita $200

Vicki K. Sakoda $200

Happy Holidays! $155

C&S Sagara $150

D. Maile Okuma $150

Marianne Kuulei Enomoto $150

Kelly Nakamura, Brooke Chun & Madison Nueva $130

John Tokunaga $102

Akiko Tajima $100

Alan Serikawa $100

Anne L. Chung $100

Bert Kochi $100

Carol N. Aramaki $100

Craig Paul $100

Cynthia Y.H. Young $100

Dana Barbata $100

Daven and Charity Yamada $100

Daven H. Morikawa $100

Deborah Aldrich $100

Dimpna Figuracion $100

Donna Mae Komagome $100

Doris M. Lee $100

Elaine S. Miura $100

Gail N. Kaminaga $100

Gail S. Tsuhako $100

Gloria A. Wong $100

Hassler-Watt Ohana $100

Hina, Kai & Natto Kikuta $100

I. Robert Nehmad $100

In loving memory for Alfred Aneuber $100

In loving memory of Gregg Maeda $100

In loving memory of PC Grandma GMN $100

In loving memory of Robert Hee $100

In loving memory of Waip Grandpa HS $100

In memory of Alan Richard $100

In memory of Dorothy Miyamoto $100

In memory of Gladys Oshiro $100

In memory of Ima Okubo & Irene Punohu $100

In memory of Pali Lee $100

In memory of Raymond and Joyce Usui $100

In Memory of Vivian Minamoto $100

James H. Nakamura $100

James Thompson and Lorraine Sakaguchi $100

Jane N. Yoshimura $100

Jeffrey & June Watanabe $100

Jerry Miyasato $100

Jo Ann Kocher $100

Judy K. Yanagida $100

Karynne Chong Morgan $100

Kathleen Fung $100

Kathy Kaleleiki $100

L. Fujii $100

Lorraine Lee $100

Lynn S. Bryan $100

Mari Fukuya $100

Marjorie S. Fujita $100

Mark A. Wakatsuki $100

Marlene M. Souki $100

Mason & Tyler Okamura $100

Matt and Micah Tom $100

May all stay safe & healthy $100

Merry Christmas Haksoon, James Mercado, Rene Catalan, Angelita Catalan and all our furry babies. We love and miss you all. Jeanne, Richard, Noelle, Justin, Devon, Noah, Aria and our furry babies. $100

Merry Christmas to all $100

Michael A. Laing $100

Michael R. Walsh $100

Milton & Madelline Oshiro $100

Nicholas and Noah Lee $100

Ojizosama blesses you $100

Pamela A. Hall $100

Patricia R. Siquig $100

Patrick & Huynh Yamamura $100

Pearl Yamanouchi $100

Peter Rotter $100

Randolph W. Sakauye $100

Raymond Y. Sakai $100

Reginald Park $100

Richard & Linda McCabe $100

Richard H. Honda $100

Roger & Marie Harris $100

Sandra W. Linskey $100

Sharon Akama $100

Sherry Oconnor $100

Steven K. Muramoto St. Louis ’65 $100

Thomas T. Takara $100

To help those whose lives have been devastatingly impacted by the pandemic. Aloha $100

Warren Kanai $100

Margaret Y. Higa $60

Susan & Gil Haugh $55.58

Adele N. Kim $50

Alan H. Kawamoto $50

Amalie Monlux $50

Amy N. Takahashi $50

Angel Ohana $50

Arthur Eberhardt $50

Carl Ashizawa $50

David S. Yamada $50

Doris M. Ching $50

Eileen J. Martinez $50

Elias Lastimosa $50

Ellen Naeole $50

Ethel K. Serikaku $50

Ethel S. Masui $50

Floria M. Pang $50

Gail K. Yamashita $50

Gayle H. Mizukami $50

Gena Sansone $50

Hedley C.S. Uetake $50

In memory of Bart Reyes Jr. $50

In memory of Cara Arrayan $50

In Memory of Clyde Tsukayama $50

In memory of Edith List $50

why is one person Mauz and the other Mau?—asking Segal

In memory of Emma Mauz and Loretta Mau $50

In memory of Jennifer Quach $50

Jerry I. Gold $50

June K. Fujimoto $50

Kay K. Kitayama $50

Ken T. Morikami $50

Margaret Tamaye $50

Martha M. Chock $50

Marvela A. Satake $50

Mary J.M. Ng $50

Mike Shimabukuro $50

Naomi U. Yamamura $50

Pauline Young $50

Wesley Boy & Grampa $50

In Memory of Ted Fisher $45

Cheryllynn Kaneholani $32

In memory of Tyler Hilinski #3 $30

Pauline S. Sumida $30

Alison W.N. Leong $25

Babette Galang $25

Frances J.C. Wong $25

Jane S. Festerling $25

Jo Ann N. Kim $25

Kari Morinaga $25

Kathryn Jean Beamer $25

Sadie $25

Teresa Paio $25

Valerie M. Nakamoto $25

Karl Herman $22

Alisa MD, Steven MD, Evan, Audrey, Daniel and Justin Lee $20

Amy H. Yuen $20

Barbara Sullivan $20

Ezekiel Bernardo-Flores $20

Glenn I. Sadayasu $20

In loving memory of Abraham P. and Violet K. Thomas $20

In memory of Ginzuchi, Tsuruno, Atsushi and Masami Seo $20

In memory of Jitsuo and Akiko Kotake $20

Jon M. Arten $20

Karen Nishimura $20

Lee’s Tire & Repair $20

Raynette Fujii $20

Shirley Wong $20

Janet Pastore $10

Jeffrey Woo $10

Mary C. Doral $10

Scott Teruya $10

Yvonne Longley $10

Zachary Chinn $10

Raffy Fernandez $5

Anonymous $6,345.30

Weekly Total $36,431.88

By Request Recipe Donations $1,355

Last Week’s Total

$52,846.45

Grand Total

$90,633.33

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