Personal Energy Transportation
PET is both a faith-based, volunteer-driven, 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization and an acronym for the Personal Energy Transportation vehicle that the group constructs and distributes at no cost to provide the gift of mobility to disabled children and adults worldwide.
PET grew out of a 1994 trip by Methodist missionary Reverend Larry Hills to Zaire, where he first recognized the need for the device when he encountered survivors of polio and landmines who could not walk but could not use wheelchairs in their rural environments. Hills and his wife Laura spoke with Reverend Mel West about a modified wheelchair that might serve, hand-cranked with three wheels. During 1995, West involved product designer Earl Miner in producing a prototype built with an eye to sturdiness, simplicity and cost effectiveness. In 1996, four prototypes were put to the test in Zaire. Based on their performance, PETs went into production and shipped for distribution in Zaire.
The following year, PET production began to expand into other countries, beginning with Mozambique. In 2000, to meet growing demand, West opened a facility in Columbia, Missouri which serves to receive donated parts, to assemble PETs and ship them internationally. A second US facility was opened in Penney Farms, Florida USA (near Jacksonville, Florida) by the Hills that same year. In 2003, a third facility was established in Luling, Texas.
In 2004, to help manage the growth and production of PETs, Pet International was incorporated, with a Board of Trustees and staff to help manage all issues related to assembling and distributing PETs. The cost of the components for a PET have dropped to $250 from the initial amount of over $300.
PET machines have been shipped to Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gaza, Georgia (Russia), Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Montagnon, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, West Bank, Western Sahara, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- "History" PET International website
- Howard, Kate: "From Penney Farms to the Third World: Wheelchairs and love" Florida Times-Union, April 13, 2010
- "Places of Use" P.E.T. of Columbia, Missouri
- PET International website
- PET of Columbia, Missouri
- PET of Penney Farms, Florida
- PET of Luling, Texas
- PET Texas website
- PET of Austin, Texas
- PET of San Antonio, Texas
- PET of the Twin Cities, Minnesota
- PET of East Jewett, New York
- PET of Murfreesboro, Tennessee
- PET of Tampa, Florida
- PET of Spokane, Washington
- P.E.T. - Personal Energy Transportation Project on Rocketboom
- PET of Holland, Michigan