WAVELAND — Going above and beyond in the world of the stray animal population by regularly fostering and fixing strays out of pocket, Waveland’s Rhonda Rossok has been named the most recent winner of the Journal Review’s Shining Star contest.
Nominated for her love for animals and tireless efforts comforting the injured, hungry and homeless, Rhonda has been noticed by others proactive in the cause.
“I’m actually blown away,” she said. “I’ve heard of the Shining Star thing prior to this year, and usually the people that get picked I’ve always felt like they go way above and beyond and I feel like I’m just a little sliver of the pie. But you could knock me over with a feather right now.”
Natives of southern Montgomery County, Rhonda and husband Bill currently oversee the care of 13 felines, though they used to have more animals.
“She loves her animals,” Bill said. “We did used to have three greyhounds and a rat terrier. They have all passed, except for the cats. We feed nine cats outside and we have three inside ... but they’re all spayed and neutered.”
Rhonda has also teamed up with nearby organizations to spay or neuter animals as a way to get around the many limitations imposed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“They kept showing up at our house and obviously something needs to be done,” Rhonda said. “Prior to the coronavirus, we were using the low-cost, spay-and-neuter transport that would come to Stock & Field, but they went down to only one transport a month.
However, Rhonda reached out to some fellow animal enthusiasts in Lafayette for help.
“We’ve taken some there since the virus started, to get them fixed,” Rhonda said, noting the pandemic’s impact on the entire community. “I would challenge each person to, no matter how small of a deed that they do for someone or an animal, to just do what you can and try to do more than you did the year before.
“I try to do that too because I know the pet problem and pet population extends way beyond Waveland, and hunger for people. No matter how small a deed you can do, people need to help each other and help the animals.”
Look for stories on additional recipients in upcoming editions of the Journal Review.