The United Methodist Men (UMM) of St. John United Methodist Church, Anchorage were participants in the annual “Church Is A Verb” Sunday when children, young people and adults of the church participated in a variety of activities as part of morning
worship to extend the work and witness of the church to the community and beyond. participants baked cookies for first responders, cleaned area roads and walkways, made blankets for a child-serving agency and built seats for the PET mobility
For the past ten years the UMM of St. John has been the umbrella organization to promote the PET mobility cart in Alaska. PET is an acronym for Personal Energy Transportation. This sturdy, hand-cranked cart is built by a corps of 800 volunteers – mostly seniors- in 24 shops across the USA and distributed free to those who lack mobility due to birth defects , polio, land mine injury and war amputations.
PETs were a “hands-on” project for United Methodist Men at the “Gatherings” in Nashville in 2009 and 2013. Since 1996, 45,000 PETs have been distributed to those in need in 101 countries world-wide.
Bill Floerchinger, an active UM layman and church leader has built and supervised construction of seats for the PET cart for the past eight years. He has worked with the men of St. John, other church men’s groups, service clubs, Boy Scouts, youth at summer camp and with a Boy Scout that built 50 seats for his Eagle Award. Bill’s efforts have funded, built and shipped over 500 seats and a large supply of wooden parts to the PET Inland-Northwest Shop in Spokane, WA to be part of the complete cart.
Since 2004, over 250 PETs have been underwritten by gifts from Alaska. Over $75,000 has been raised for this non-sectarian cause from churches, service clubs and concerned individuals.
Pictured (L to R) at the May 4, 2013 event are: Gale Weatherell, Laura and Scott Fahrney, Chuck Livers and Bill Floerchinger.