March 2010

Volume 6 (open PDF version)

Distribution in Niger Via MedShare


Sun. February 21, 2010

Hi Mr. Von Driggs,

We have received two PET carts here at the Kirker Hospital in Maine-Soroa, Niger, from the recent MedShare shipment.  We’ve assembled them (just this week) and are eager to give them to someone who could use them….Overall, they were easy to put together and it was very helpful that there were screwdrivers in the box.  They are a bit difficult to steer in the deep sand, but could be used on the roads around town.  I’ve attached two pictures so you can see them here at our hospital.  I will let you know when we would need some more.
Dr. Mindi Guptill, MD, specialist in Emergency Medicine
March 11, 2010  Here are some more pictures of the man in our village that cannot walk that now has one of your carts.  He sells chickens and can do that out of the back of the cart.  He was very pleased.

I do not know of any organizations in our area working with the disabled.  I will let you know if I learn of one after I’ve been here for a longer period of time.
Thanks so much!!!  Mindi”

PETs active in Sierra Leone

This email was sent to Rev. Mel West, PET co-founder.  The PETs were built at PET Southwest MO in 2009 and the shipment was coordinated by our director of operations.

“February 26, 2010 Dear Mel, My wife and I just returned from a moving trip to Sierra Leone ….It’s a desperately poor country which is struggling to recover from a terrible civil war, corrupt leadership and isolation from the rest of the developed world….Some of the warmest smiles were from a couple of young men we met at a Polio Rehab Skills  center near Freetown.  These young men were completely paralyzed and withered from the waist down, but they had gotten the PET wheelchairs, and they moved around with great confidence and joy.  They were pleased to show them off to us and to tell us how much the carts had meant to them.  We probably saw 3-4 others on the streets of Freetown and Bo…we just wanted you to know that we had seen how much they were being used and appreciated!  God’s blessings! Kirk”

PET Assembly in Mexico

“Ramona was 8 months pregnant when we were introduced to her.  One of our neighbors worked to buy her a wheelchair but due to the mud, she couldn’t get around very well.  Ramona fell from a tree when she was 7 years old and could not receive medical help because there was no money.  She lost the use of her legs from her knees down and as an adult, got around by “walking” on her knees.  She is one happy lady.“

(From their website www.liftingburdens.org )

PET Mexico-Reynosa was recently approved by our board of trustees as a new Affiliate.  Marilyn Gatica is the director.  She and her husband, Jorge, operate Lifting Burdens, Inc., a non-profit ministry offering education and services in Mexico.  Jorge plans to teach woodworking and welding skills to local Mexicans building PETs in the process.

This is an excerpt of an email to our volunteer executive director.  “January 22, 2010 …..We are really looking forward to trying this venture as a “mission project” rather than a mass-production.  God has opened doors for additional service to those who we have donated P.E.T.s to.  The last one we delivered to a lady who got around on her knees because the lower legs weren’t strong enough to hold her (story on page 2).  She had a wheelchair but has fallen several times because of the rough terrain.  She is pregnant and will deliver this month.  She was  so excited with her P.E.T. because she thinks she can figure out a way to put a baby carrier on the back box and go to church or out to the street to sell her sausage.  The smiles on these people’s faces are PRICELESS!…It is wonderful to be able to use P.E.T. as an extension of Lifting Burdens’ outreach….Blessings on you, Marilyn”

Director of Operations on Haiti

Following the earthquake in Haiti PET International has been seeking out new partnerships with organizations who serve the disabled in that country.  We have identified three organizations with which to join hands:

The first is The Advantage Program in Haiti.  Please visit their website for detailed information.

Since 2001, The Advantage Program has been providing assistance to persons with disabling conditions in Haiti.  In August of 2009, the Prosthetics / Orthotics facility was chosen as one of the premiere clinics in the country.  Dr. June Hanks is our primary contact at the program.
Apostolic Christian World Relief (ACWR) is providing logistical support for The Advantage Program through temporary warehouse space and container shipping to support the work there. In March the first 25 PET carts were donated by PET MO-Columbia and delivered.  These carts will be combined with other relief cargo and shipped to Haiti on March 24.  The delivery time to Haiti should be five weeks.  There is a commitment on the part of the ACWR to continue and provide the container shipping over the months as the distribution of PET carts to amputees begins.

3. Hôpital Sacré Coeur (Sacred Heart Hospital) is the largest private hospital in the North of Haiti. Located in the town of Milot, the 73 bed hospital has provided uninterrupted service for 23 years. PET International is sending the first cart to this hospital through a volunteer physician in April.  We hope that over the next few weeks a formal distribution partnership will be arranged.  Von Driggs, Director of Operations

PET Affiliate on the move

In March 2003 PET Texas in Luling was the third production shop to open .  Over six years they built and packed a total of 1108 adult and 128 child size PETs.  Jake & Gwen Royall and Joe Svoboda, founders, are very involved with the whole PET family and the work of PET International.  This is an excerpt from their fall newsletter:  “..we have decided to send the production part of the PET shop to Bryan, TX.  The move will be supported by about five churches in the Bryan area….Joe, Gwen and I will still be working in the shop making metal parts and any other part that other PET sites might need.  In addition to that, the three of us will be going to the new shop to help out with setup and operation of the new location….Jake”  This Affiliate is now known as PET TX-Luling/Brazos Valley.

Other Tidbits
During our last fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, over 4,000 PETs were produced and shipped from 18 (soon to be 20) production sites around the world (15 US and 3 in other countries).  You can view our complete 2009 annual report.  Please help us to continue this growth and mission of mobility.

Update on the PET International warehouse in Texas:  Our board saw a need to have some collection points of PETs for shipment.  Sid Martin of PET TX-San Antonio oversees the warehouse and gave this report of the activity in 2009.  “Since April we have sent 314 PETs into Mexico, 16 PETs with the African Relief Ministries to Uganda, and assisted PET TX-Austin with 32 to Honduras.”

PET International was highlighted in an article in the The Catholic Lighthouse, official publication of the Diocese of Victoria in Texas, January 2010.

Within the next month PET KS-Moundridge is leading a team of volunteers in rural Honduras distributing 200 PETs, wheelchairs and reconditioned sewing machines.

For the third year PET International had a booth at the Lions International convention.  Last July it was held in Minneapolis, MN.  Walt Hays, retired minister, Lion and PET volunteer, was interviewed by the local media which was aired on FOX 9.

In August 2009 Don Muth, director of PET NY-East Jewett, went to Benin, Africa, to help distribute a shipment of PETs from Affiliate shops in TN, NY and FL.  Here’s his email while in Africa.  “Put PETs together yesterday.  Delivered to two villages today.  A fabulous experience. The waiting was worth it.  Many pictures and stories to share.  The accommodations and people here have been very friendly and helpful.  Words cannot begin to describe and pictures won’t do justice to what we have experienced this week.  Praise the Lord that we have been able to share this ministry with our brothers and sisters in Benin.  We have begun to discuss the next shipment.”  Later in September he gave an in depth report at the PET International annual meeting in MO .

PET sighting in Honduras:  July 2009 “Von, I just wanted to send you a note and let you know that I was thrilled to happen across a man in Honduras that was using one of the PETs for transportation.  I was in Honduras on a HealthCare Team and while walking around the village I came across this man.  He was thrilled and could not stop telling us how happy he was with the machine.  Robert French, Nehemiah Network”

Venture International, based in Arizona, became a new distribution partner in 2009.  They produced a wonderful video of PETs distributed and how the recipients’ lives had been changed in Kyrgyzstan.  October 2009 “…Thank you so much for all of the work that you are doing.  We are faithfully praying that our partnership will grow and we can assist in getting word out about this wonderful project.  God bless all of you at PET!  Sincerely, Cherrie Dickerson”

Last Fall PET KS-Moundridge was chosen to be the second training site.  (The first being in Florida.)  Prospective Affiliate groups west of the Mississippi can go there for training and advice on building PETs and running a PET shop.  Training is one of the requirements to become an approved Affiliate.