Monday, October 28, 2013

PET - Personal Energy Transportation

P is for PET.  No it is not an animal or bird kept for companionship or pleasure, it is Personal Energy Transportation.  PET's are heavy duty hand cranked personal mobility devices designed for use by the disabled in developing countries.

I first learned about PET's from my brother-in-law.  For over a year now he has been volunteering at the PET assembly location in Columbia, Missouri.  PET International is a faith-based, volunteer-powered, humanitarian, and world-wide organization.  PET's mission is to provide appropriate mobility for all of God’s children in need. They work with all groups, religious or secular, and seek to provide mobility first for those in greatest need and with least resources in poor or underdeveloped countries.

PET began in 1994 when Larry Hills, a missionary in Zaire, Africa, told Pastor Mel West of the great need for three-wheeled, hand-cranked wheelchairs for victims of polio and landmines. Mel contacted Earl Miner, product designer and long-time friend and mission partner, and the process of the prototype design began.  In 1995, when prototype development was ready for field testing, four were shipped to Larry Hills with the instructions to put these in the worst place you can find, and see if they pass the test. Larry did, and the PETs did.   Since 1995 PET International has grown from Mel West's one stall garage in Columbia, Missouri to over 20 assembly locations. PET's are in use in 100 countries around the world.

The PET's are assembled by an all volunteer labor force.  The Columbia, Missouri location has about 90 volunteers.  My brother-in-law works there a couple of hours a day.  Many of the volunteers work just an hour or two a week, but this all volunteer work force has produced 1470 PET's so far this year.  Since 1995, 40,000 PET's have been built and distributed.

I find the PET organization fascinating.  They focus on helping a group of people that have been neglected.  Each PET is hand built by a team of volunteers who take time out of their lives to make sure that as many people as possible are given the gift of mobility.  Even though all of the labor is donated there are lots of costs associated with the project and donations are appreciated.  Donations can be made on their website.

PET International is an amazing charity that started with one man learning of a need and giving of himself to try to fill the need.  He had one goal; making life better for the poverty-stricken, neglected, rejected and disenfranchised of the world.  Even though he knew that one man couldn't help everyone in need, he knew he could help someone.  Instead of being overwhelmed by the large numbers of people in the world who need help with mobility, an estimated 20 million,   Mel West and all of those PET volunteers are making a difference in as many lives as they can. They can help even more people with your help.

PET international works hand in hand with many charitable organizations.  PET's are provided at no cost to any agencies that will:

1. Send a preliminary request to PET MO Columbia outlining the nature and extent of the need.

2. That agency will then be sent a more detailed application and begin the communication regarding a possible shipment of PETs.

3. If the application is approved and a shipment is made PET will expect the receiving agency to arrange and pay for shipping from the USA coast to the point of need.

4. As distribution is made, provide PET with the names of each recipient and a brief comment about the nature of their need.

5. Send PET photos of 20% of the recipients.

6. Continue in communication with PET as partners in the provision of mobility.

In one of the articles that founder Mel West wrote about PET he included this quote.   “We all participate in weaving the social fabric; we should therefore all participate in patching the fabric when it develops holes.” Anne C. Weisberg

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.


  1. Thanks Richie for sharing. It really is a great cause.

  2. wow!! this project looks very interesting! thanks for dropping by my project. if you wouldn't have come, probably I would never have discovered this project of yours.


  3. Truly a ministry Richie.
    The lives that are forever changed by their new found mobility is wonderful.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Taking care of the needs of the helpless is all our calling as Christians. What a wonderful thing for them to feel independence.

  5. Interesting post about a positive organization. When I see PET I think of PET Scans and I always want negative results from them which I've gotten for a lot of years now. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

    1. This is an amazing project! I supported a similar project in Israel. Thanks for this post!
      Have a great week.
      Wil, ABCW Team.

  6. I heard about PETs in terms of landmines, which made me extraordinarily sad, not about the vehicles, but their need.
    . ROG, ABCW

  7. Very interesting. Never heard of it before.

  8. Pleased to see such People and orgs do exist who care

    PhenoMenon, ABCW

  9. Very interesting!
    God bless them and their work!
    Have a beautiful day!

  10. What a wonderful project. Wonderful people who care. And great smiles on the faces of the recipients.


  11. What an inspiring project and such a clever idea to change peoples lives.

  12. This is excellent!
    Very useful and helpful to many.
    Thank you for showing us.

  13. I remember we had a PET at Heifer Ranch when I was a volunteer there, 1996-2002, but I never knew the whole story behind it. Thanks for this information.
    BTW, we also used a fleet of old TRAGs at the Ranch--another useful invention for developing nations, TRansport for AGriculture.
    Is Mel West the son of Dan West, founder of Heifer International?