History

1994 PET MO-Columbia started the PET Mobility Project.  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.
2000 Larry Hills set up a production shop in Penney Farms Retirement Center located in Penney 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.  Later moved to and known as PET TX-Brazos Valley.
2004 Over 1,000 PETs are produced and shipped from across the US. PET International is incorporated.
New production shops known as Affiliates continue to be trained and join the PET Family.
2007 The Pull PET was developed for those who didn’t even have upper body power or coordination.
2010 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.  See the Model’s page of our website to see a description and picture.
2012 Our founder, Mel West, semi-retired to Director Emeritus continues to assist with some tasks and giving presentations.  Longtime volunteer and past board member, Gary Moreau, was hired by our board as the new Executive Director.
2013 Significant changes were made in seat design for the crank PETs for more adjustability and comfort for the recipients.
2014 PET celebrates its 20th anniversary.
2015  Over 50,000 PETs from all sites have been produced to date.  See examples of recipients from around the world on our “Stories” pages by year. There are 23 approved Affiliates in the US and 1 shop/Affiliate in Zambia. (Under Affiliates at www.petinternational.org)

For an updated list, go to the Affiliates link at http://PETInternational.org/.