From April Newsletter from The Residence at the HONOR Center, Gainesville, Florida:
The P.E.T. Project – Behind the Scenes by Tony St. Angelo
Throughout our lifetime we often see many programs on television of different organizations providing services for countries overseas, whether it be vaccinations or food programs, for the most part we only see images of the end result. We are never really subjected to “the behind the scenes” point of view when it comes to these operations.
Well, many of us at The Honor Center were able to experience just that. The P.E.T. Project out of Penny Farms, Florida is an amazing program that provides Personal Energy Transportation (PET) three wheeled hand-powered wheelchairs for individuals overseas that suffer from a loss of mobility due to such things as landmine explosions, illness, birth defects, disease, or accidents.
Not only is getting around difficult without any help at all, even conventional type wheelchairs can be no match for the rugged terrain and lack of paved roads in many of these developing countries, but the PET’s hard rubber off road type wheels can handle many obstacles that will come its way, from grass to small sized rocks it is no problem at all.
The folks at Penney Farms are for the most part retired men who assemble these in their spare time at a cost of $250 per unit. When I asked a few of them why they do this their answers were “to give back” and “because it brings them together and provides a feeling of community.”
As we age, it is important that we stay connected and stay busy. And it seems the folks at Penney Farms have done just that. They don’t do it for fame or glory. They do it because they want to, because they care. They are producing 20 of the PETs per week which means they are changing the lives of 20 individuals each and every week. That is absolutely amazing. As an American Veteran sometimes we take our luxuries for granted. Imagine the difference between a $50,000 C-Leg vs a $250 PET. The contrast in the lives of those 2 recipients in unimaginable.
Penney Farms PET project relies on private funding as it does not receive any government grants, so not only do they spend time building these miracles on wheels but also spend time raising funds. So, I challenge you the reader to go onto http://petflorida.org/ and read more about what they do, also watch the many videos that they have on YouTube and if you like what you see, send them a few bucks .
You many send check or money orders by mail to:
PET Florida Penney Farms
P.O. Box 919
Penney Farms, FL 32079
or by way of PayPal via their website.
I wish to thank all at Penny Farms for allowing us to visit, lend a hand, and hang out with you guys.