During our time walking through Tazewell County, we have met many wonderful and inspirational people. Randy Wheat is no exception. Randy is the founder and president of Rescuing Animals In Need of Central Illinois. Incorporated in 2005, R.A.I.N. provides spay and neuter services, discount medical attention, foster services, crisis/abuse intervention, and disaster rescue for animals in need. They are currently working to raise the necessary funds for a no-kill shelter in the Danvers area.
Randy really took off in the world of animal rescue when he joined up with Best Friends Animal Rescue after Hurricane Katrina. Best Friends went into the 8th and 9th wards of New Orleans after the waters receded, rescuing animals that had been abandoned or stranded during the flood. Randy was right there with them, crawling under houses and braving dangerous conditions to save as many animals as possible. He showed us video and told us stories of the challenges of doing disaster rescues. It’s the little details that stick with him, and that he can’t really explain to people who haven’t been there – like the smell, or the way the flood waters leave a dark mud line on every wall of every house after they recede. In his time with animal rescue, he has found that it’s a world where everybody knows everybody, and passionate people from all over the country are willing to help one another toward their common goal. When the Mississippi River flooded significant portions of Iowa last year, Randy and many others braved the raging floodwaters to rescue pet and farm animals from places too dangerous for their owners to go.
Randy supports himself with a videography business (IVP Film) that pays his bills and also helps to fund R.A.I.N.’s operations. There is nothing easy about his world of animal rescue – there is always another dog or animal in a bad situation, in need of a home. He has given so much of himself to the cause that we feel so passionate about, and we feel inspired to do more. Thanks to the efforts of inspiring people like Randy, those animals have a chance to find a better life, and we can be joyful for the rescued animals that brighten our lives and homes.