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.
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 Personal Energy Transportation (PET) Carts 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.
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.
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.
Tom Algiere, shop teacher, was sent by the United Methodist Church to Mozambique where he set up two PET production shops.
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. 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.
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.
Over 1,000 PETs are produced and shipped from across the US. PET International is incorporated.
PET TN – Murfreesboro (transitioned to AL – North Alabama)
PET FL – Tampa
PET MO – Southwest
PET NY – East Jewett (no longer in operation)
PET WA – Spokane
PET KS – Moundridge
PET TX – San Antonio
PET IA – Hawarden
The Pull PET was developed for those who didn’t even have upper body power or coordination.
PET ME – Waterboro
PET FL – Jacksonville
PET TX – Austin
PET MI – Holland
PET TX – Rio Grande Valley (no longer in operation)
PET MI – East Michigan
PET TN – Memphis
Mini-mart kits were developed as a way for some PET recipients near populated areas to sell items and earn a living. These are sent with PET shipments when requested by our distribution partners.
PET IA – Leighton
PET MN – Twin Cities
PET IN – DeMotte
PET UT – Northern Utah (no longer in operation)
PET OH – Stow
Significant changes were made in seat design for the crank PETs for more adjustability and comfort for the recipients.
PET MI – Saline
PET celebrates its 20th anniversary.
PET PA – Carlisle
50,000th PET Cart celebrated
PET International becomes Mobility Worldwide
60,000th Mobility Cart delivered