The Music of Iconic Songwriters
Saturday, April 13 7:00pm
HUMC - 20 Blackwell Ave, Hopewell NJ
Proceeds benefit Phillipine animal rescue
in memory of USMC Lnc Cpl Mike Pizzullo
Scroll down for Mike's story...
Enjoy a musical journey through time as Mary McIntyre shares songs by Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, Berry Gordy and others, along with original music. Mary is joined by guitar virtuoso Chris Turner and award-winning vocalist Lou Steele.
This concert is a fundraising benefit in memory of USMC Lnc Cpl Mike Pizzullo, a NJ native who passed away unexpectedly at 52 in the Phillipines after serving his country in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Finding Mike's beloved cats, left homeless by his death, became a personal mission for Mary... a mission that continues in raising funds for The Cat House, one of the few rescues that exist in this desperately poor nation. Scroll down to read the miraculous story of the cats' rescue:
Mike was a friend to animals, especially cats. In letters home he often mentioned the neglect he witnessed, and a lack of animal welfare laws, in his beautiful adopted island nation. Strays are numerous, living in deplorable conditions.
Mike had 9 cats. They were his children. Truth be told, he often preferred animals to people. He fed many strays. He built carboard nests for pregnant cats, and little stairs up to his bed for Kookynut, who'd had a stroke. The grey kitten pictured here is Jane.
Due to circumstances beyond his US family's control, Mike's cats ended up on the streets when he passed away.
Marines folding flag at Mike's funeral. After his discharge, Mike continued to serve as a contractor in the Middle East, locating and disabling IED's before troops entered an area. His bravery saved many lives.
It's been 4 months since Mike died. We have a partial address, somewhere in Candelaria. Can we help his cat family from 9,000 miles away? Mike always went the extra mile to help animals in need, even when he himself was struggling. We have to try!
There are more rescues in the state of NJ than the entire Phillipine nation. The few who answer us are full. Finally, we hear from The Cat House.
The Cat House logo reminds us of a craft Mike made years ago. We take it as a sign.
The logo's cat has a nametag: Boots. We joke that it means "Boots on the Ground" a mission command from Mike to extract his cats. Moments later, we open our trunk and find boots exactly, eerily like Mike's (left in car by a son who'd worn them for the first time in a year). Now that's a sign!
The Cat House is a home-based rescue, not a registered non-profit. It's 60 miles from Mike's place. Understandably, they ask us to send funds for this complex rescue mission. We've been warned about scams. We don't know what Mike's home or many of his cats looked like. They could easily go around the block, pick up a few cats, and claim they are Mike's. In the end, this mission is a leap of faith.
It's Rescue Day! The Cat House family make the journey to Candelaria. They stop in a government office to find the exact location of Mike's place, which is very remote and adjacent to the jungle.
Mike's village must be reached on foot.
The villagers all knew "American Mike" and his cats. They point out where some are still hanging around. One has been killing their baby chickens to eat, so people have been throwing rocks at him.
Jane is the first one found! She is skin and bones. Rescuers said she walked up as if she were expecting them, which rarely happens (usually coaxing is needed). They saw her go to Mike's closed door before approaching them.
Jane (aka Hoogey) is safe now at The Cat House
Another emaciated cat of Mike's appears: Kelly
Kelly is dirty and tired after four months on her own.
Kelly recovering comfortably in her bedroom at The Cat House.
Mike was popular with village kids, but he often complained they didn't respect strays. He once caught kids torturing a kitten and was very upset about it. This day is what he wanted them to see: an army of volunteers swooping in to save American Mike's cats, because their lives matter.
The "chicken bandit" is found and coaxed into a carrier. We recognize him from pics with Mike. After a long day, three of Mike's cats are found alive! During the search, a kitten is found alone in a junk heap, so rescuers take her too. Instead of a life on the streets, she will enjoy comfort and peace thanks to Mike.
Just a few days later, a typhoon hit Mike's village. But the four Candelaria Cats, as they are now known, were cozy indoors. Now that Mike's rescue mission is complete, please help us continue to support The Cat House, which cares for cats, dogs, and some farm animals. They rescue animals from homelessness, even in cases of extreme injury that requires round-the-clock care, in partnership with Makati Animal Clinic.
Thank you for your support!