1994 Reverend Larry Hills, missionary in Zaire (now Congo), Africa, told Reverend 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.
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. Shipments began to Zaire, where Larry had set up a place to receive the frames, put on the wooden beds, and distribute them. Later the operation moved to Zambia and is now PET Zambia at New Life Center, led by Delbert Groves, United Methodist Missionary, Kitwe, Zambia, Africa.
1996 Rodney Miner in Darby, Montana, began to build and ship PETs and steel frame parts mostly to Congo/Zaire, where they locally add the wooden bed and then distribute the finished PET.
1997 Bishop Machado of Mozambique saw the PET and requested a project there. Others did likewise. With limited funds and operating out of the West’s garage, and a room at Community United Methodist Church, the project grew.
1998 Tom Algiere, shop teacher, was sent by the United Methodist Church to Mozambique where he set up two PET production shops.
2000 Reverend Mel West set up a production, receiving and shipping facility in Columbia, Missouri USA. The PET Place facility receives parts made by volunteers and donated by businesses. Then the PETs are assembled and shipped to various areas of need around the world.
2001 Reverend Larry Hills set up a production shop in Penny Farms Retirement Center located in Penny Farms, Florida USA to focus on mobility needs in Haiti.
2003 Jake and Gwen Royall, members of First Christian Church, set up a production shop in Luling, Texas USA. PET-TX Luling transitioned to PET TX-Brazos Valley in 2009.
2004 Over 1,000 PETs are produced and shipped from across the US. PET International is incorporated.
New shops:
PET TN – Murfreesboro (now transitioning to Alabama)
PET FL – Tampa
PET MO – Southwest
2005 PET NY – East Jewett
PET WA – Spokane
PET KS – Moundridge
2006 PET TX – San Antonio
2007 PET IA – Hawarden
2008 PET ME – Waterboro
PET FL – Jacksonville
2009 PET TX – Austin
PET MI – Holland
2010 PET TX – Rio Grande Valley
PET MI – East Michigan
PET TN – Memphis
2011 PET IA – Leighton
PET MN – Twin Cities
2012 PET IN – DeMotte
PET UT – Northern Utah
2013 PET OH – Stow
2014 PET MI – Saline