DC3 Music Group Mounts Urgent Artist Relief Mission to Haiti
Tue, 02 Feb 2010 12:47:03
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When Award-winning director/ producer Daniel E. Catullo III saw news reports of Haiti's suffering, it wasn't enough to just pick up the phone and donate money. Instead, the noted concert video producer has spent the past week rallying the music community to mount a million-dollar relief mission poised to depart this week for Port-au-Prince.
On January 27, 2010, through the humanitarian efforts of Catullo's multi-media company, DC3 Music Group, LLC, an MD-80 aircraft left Long Beach, CA, bound for Port-Au-Prince, ready to provide over 10,000 pounds of medical supplies (donated by MedShare), doctors, and medical staff.
Scott Stapp and the members of Creed, New Kids On The Block, Alter Bridge, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Godsmack, Julianne Hough, Eve, and David Archuleta head the initial wave of musicians helping the cause, with more joining by the moment. Together, they've helped the staff of DC3 Music Group raise over $1 million in supplies and donations. The PLANE TO HAITI effort will continue with as many return trips as needed. The Wheelchair Foundation is accepting donations through the mission's new website, www.planetohaiti.org. No donation is too big or too small.
"I couldn't just sit there watching anymore," said Catullo. "So I started calling and e-mailing all of the artists I know and work with and asked for donations and help spreading the word. After five straight 20-hour days, we now have everybody from Scott Stapp to New Kids On The Block to Godsmack helping make this happen. I am so grateful to everybody who stepped up and for the overwhelming amount of support we have received so far. I am pleased to announce that our departure to Haiti with all these supplies is imminent.
"As long as the money and support keeps coming, we will keep the supplies going down. The Wheelchair Foundation is planning many trips to Haiti in the coming months. The need for wheelchairs and medical supplies will not just be this week, but for many, many months. It is quite overwhelming."
Catullo first teamed with the Wheelchair Foundation in 2004 on a trip to deliver wheelchairs to Panama and has been a huge supporter ever since. It was only natural that he reached out to the organization's founder, Ken Behring, to partner in PLANE TO HAITI.
"Panama was one of the most amazing experiences I ever have had in my life," said Catullo. "Giving someone the gift of mobility is life-changing and something that we all take for granted. I am honored to be friends with the Behring's and everybody involved at the Foundation. They truly are a special bunch of people"
Added Wheelchair Foundation spokesman Jeff Behring: "Our mission to Haiti is about assembling volunteers with a passion to help those in desperate need and then provide. Dan Catullo and his group have been instrumental in assembling this mission and making it happen."
Scott Stapp was the first musician on board, aligning with "Plane to Haiti" through the With Arms Wide Open Foundation, which brings hope to children "with arms wide open." Stapp already is on the ground in Haiti awaiting for the arrival of Catullo and the medical supplies. The Creed lead singer is scheduled to return on the "Plane to Haiti" flight back to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night.
Sully Erna, lead singer of multi-platinum rock band Godsmack, was another early Catullo supporter and has rallied his fans to help raise more money.
"I really care about human lives in general," said Erna. "A soul is irreplaceable and should never be taken for granted. We're only here for a blip. And we must cherish this life, because none of us are truly qualified to say whether or not we come back. And even if we do, we don't know if we'd remember who we were.
And since I can't be there to help in person, I want to make my contribution as a fellow human being to give what I can while I'm in the fortunate situation that I am to help those that are so unfortunate in this time of tragedy. My heart and prayers go out to all of those families and children that they get through this as quickly and painlessly as possible."
Morello was next. Though he couldn't go along for the ride, the Rage Against the Machine guitarist was pivotal in starting a network of e-mails that led to doctors, supplies and donations, including a group of Haitian doctors and nurses headed to Haiti later to stay for up to one month.
Another charity, MedShare (medshare.org), donated over 8,000 pounds of much needed medical supplies for the trip.
"Mr. Catullo was inspired to immediately help bring health and hope to the Haitian people and asked MedShare to collaborate on this important project," said Chuck Haupt, executive director of MedShare Western Region. "MedShare has a 10-year history of shipping medical supplies and equipment to support non-profits in the country. We were delighted to learn that PLANE TO HAITI was willing to get urgently needed triage supplies flown directly to the Partners In Health hospitals in Port-au-Prince. After a disaster of this magnitude medical supplies are in high demand by caregivers, and MedShare couldn't be more pleased with partnering with Mr. Catullo and PLANE TO HAITI to help save lives."
Shortly thereafter, AGP Management, which manages such superstar artists as Godsmack, Creed, Smashing Pumpkins and New Kids On The Block, offered support and rallied its client roster to help. The first act to jump on board was New Kids On The Block. Not only did the multi-platinum group start by making a substantial donation, the members immediately began Twittering fans to get additional donations and other support.
On the ground in Haiti, DC3 has made plans to utilize its skills as video producers to build an infrastructure that will allow people to leave video messages to their loved ones and check in on them. DC3 also will be able to transmit images of Haiti, focusing on areas underserved by the media, and shoot public service announcements to help the Wheelchair Foundation raise additional funds for future shipments. Additionally, the ground team plans to meet with troops and relief workers to help raise morale, and visit the Hands & Feet Project, the orphaned children's village in Jacmel started by the band Audio Adrenaline. Over 40 computers, two satellite dishes and 100 video cameras have been donated to the ground efforts, made possible through partnerships with CNN, Bing Maps, Kuzzon Media and Wexler Video.
Others involved in the mission include AGP Management, Dr. Nancy Sobel, Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, Rockpit.com, and Rodney Bowes Design. So far, three charities, 10 companies and 100 people are working together on the mission to get people directly to Haiti to help.
"It's been an amazing week," said Catullo. "As a small group of people with a mission we are going to help a lot of people."