Cajun Navy Foundation volunteer Marleen Hugo was recently presented the Women for Animal Welfare Award by the Humane Society of Charlotte, on behalf of multiple animal welfare groups across the state North Carolina. Marleen was nominated for the award by another Cajun Navy Foundation volunteer, Michelle Szinavel, along with others as one of 30 nominees. Marleen has been working with animal rescues following disasters since Hurricane Katrina.
After suffering a near-fatal brain hemorrhage in 2001, Marleen realized that she had been given a second chance to live. She wanted to make this second chance purposeful, and to try and do as much as possible to make this world a better place for the animals we share our daily lives with.
After Hurricane Florence, Marleen decided to volunteer with Cajun Navy Foundation because they seemed like a good group of people with the right mindset. She was even able to continue her animal work when she was without power at her home in North Carolina in the days following Hurricanes Florence and Michael. She also assist with social media.
As a volunteer, Marleen’s main goal is to reunite pets with their owners after disasters. She also likes to get involved before the hurricane hits to get the animals moved from shelters that are in the crisis zones to safety. Since many shelters suffer damage from hurricanes, the animals need to be relocated out of the shelters. Marleen collaborates with a whole network of people, and she has many contacts in the Carolinas.
In a Facebook post, Marleen’s husband, Dan Hugo, said that seeing his hero and wife receive the award was one of the proudest moments of his life.
“She has overcome so much, but her positive attitude and unwavering commitment to animals has made a difference to thousands of animals and their loved ones. She inspired the entire room, and during her speech there was not a dry eye in the house,” Dan wrote.