Rosalyn Thompson-Blackwell turns grief into giving

Remarkable Women
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Rosalyn Thompson-Blackwell wears many hats: wife, mother and CEO of MB Solutions, a defense contractor in Huntsville.

She’s also a retired lieutenant colonel from the Missile Defense Agency. But MB Solutions is much more than what takes place in its office, it funds her nonprofit.

“All the charity work from MB Solutions, we do it through the Miles Blackwell Foundation,” explained Blackwell.

Miles Blackwell, the ‘MB’ in her business’ name was her son.

“He was 16,” Blackwell said. “He was a scholar and an athlete and I see him over and over in other people.”

Miles died in 2011 after his car left the road in Limestone County. He was on the way home after taking a foster child to a basketball game.

In the face of unspeakable trauma, Blackwell said she had to choose strength and resilience, or she puts it, she chose to be.

“If I was going to be, and be a good mother to my daughter, I couldn’t have a situation where she lost her brother and her mother in the same day,” said Blackwell. “I had to find some way to deal with it. This is my way.”

A little over eight years ago, the Miles Blackwell Foundation was born.

“It’s just a manifestation of how I felt inside about him,” she said. “I wanted his name to be alive. I wanted my daughter to feel comfortable saying his name, talking about his memory. So I had to do something with that grief, and that’s what I did with it: try to help others.”

Which she does through events like Christmas in July, where clothes, shoes, and school supplies are given out to hundreds of local families. the MBF also provides a full Christmas to foster families, including toys and a holiday party. The foundation is also responsible for more than 70 scholarships awarded over the years.

Blackwell didn’t want how much she gave to rely on fundraising or donations. That call to serve led then-retired Lt. Col. Blackwell back into the workforce.

“That’s because I decided to start a business so I could fund my nonprofit,” Blackwell said. “As i started seeing there are so many more people I can help if I can fund it correctly.”

She goes to work every day, but not to earn a paycheck, but to funnel that money into the foundation that bears her late son’s name. Her business is about four years younger than her foundation for that very reason.

MB Solutions also offers an internship program for college students in the STEM field. Blackwell says those interns also play an active role in organizing events for the nonprofit.

Her entire life’s work now is to make a difference in the lives of others after turning her grief into giving.

Join us March 6, 2020 on WHNT News 19 This Morning for a big reveal of our “Most Remarkable” semi-finalist. That woman will win a trip to New York City to attend The Mel Robbins Show.

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