MUSCATINE, Iowa — Ascentra Credit Union's Pay It Forward program with WQAD News 8 is continually looking for people who go above and beyond in their community. This week the program took News 8 to Muscatine, Iowa, where a Meagan Koehler is doing big things after adopting a dog.
"I nominated Meagan because she has done so much good for the community and the surrounding areas," Melissa Stalkfleet said. "She has a rescue that she started roughly about 10 months ago, and she's saved so many dogs (and) cats. She's even helped a horse, I believe."
Stalkfleet met Meagan through her nonprofit, It Takes a Village Animal Rescue, in Muscatine, Iowa. News 8 went with Stalkfleet to surprise Koehler, knowing the money will be put to good use.
"We got into animal rescue when we went to adopt a dog … that was showing signs of kennel stress," Koehler said.
Some of the animals Koehler and her team help come from dangerous backgrounds.
"We have a dog named Flower, who had been a part of a hoarding situation in Oklahoma. When they discovered her upon investigating and pulling dogs from this situation she was found with a severe infection," Koehler said.
That infection was from a gunshot wound, leaving Flower full of buckshot. Flower is now showing promising signs after multiple surgeries.
Koehler and her team originally didn't have a physical building for their operations and relied on foster homes throughout the region. Mid-January the nonprofit raised enough money with support from the community to get a temporary building.
"Thank you to our amazing community of supporters that made that a reality … Four days and we raised $7,200 dollars for us to have a quarantine facility to assist with an emergency situation," Koehler said.
That "emergency situation," according to the Muscatine County Sheriff's Office, was an animal neglect investigation where 28 dogs and one cat were seized. They are now housed at It Takes a Village. Due to the ongoing litigation, News 8 was unable to see the animals.
What all started with the desire to adopt a pet, now transforming into the mission to help animals in need.
News 8 and Ascentra Credit Union are looking for the next Pay It Forward award winner. If you know someone who is going above and beyond in their community, nominate them here.