Do you know how Earl Miner became the PET designer?

PET MO-Columbia update 7-21-15
PETs built since 1-1-15 #797

I often ponder how many things of life depend upon the “What if’s..”

Last week a long-time friend and his wife, Rev. Keith and Marcia Berry,
visited PET & The Container Project, delivering a sewing machine. As we
talked, I reminded Keith of how important he had been to PET.

Miner Earl B 2009In 1978 a missionary from Zimbabwe, the Rev. Kononuhwa, talked in Springfield, MO, about the great need for simple transportation in his country. His work with local churches could be greatly enhanced if he
had a means of traveling other than walking. Earl Miner heard that talk and went home and designed a simple machine capable of traveling the rough roads and trails of Zinmbabwe, and of carrying a cargo of persons and materials. The machine was three-wheeled, front wheel drive unit, with an 8 hp. Briggs and Stratton engine mounted over the front wheel.

Mr. Miner was a design engineer working in nearby Lebanon, MO. His work was in designing products for the commercial market, but his heart was in designing simple products to enhance the lives of the poor.

Rev. Berry was the United Methodist pastor in Marshfield, and I was
director of a United Methodist mission office in Columbia, MO, called
“The Office of Creative Ministries.” Keith called me to say, “I think
you need to come to Marshfield to see what Mr. Miner is making. It fits
your idea of mission.”

I went, saw the need for it abroad, and OCM, with Earl Miner, produced
and shipped several hundred of those machines, called the TRAG
(TRansportation AGriculture.) I still get reports of their good work.
Unfortunately, when I retired OCM dropped that project.

So— when UM missionary Larry Hills, in 1994, told me of the need for
a simple, sturdy, three-wheeled, hand-cranked wheelchair for the
thousands who crawled upon the ground, I immediately knew where to go
for its design—and “the rest is history.”

Our lives are so very much determined by the “what-if’s.” Someone
misses a plane that crashes, and they immediately are faced with a
“what-if.” What if I had not run out of gas on the way to the airport?

So now you know “the rest of the story.” What if Keith Berry had not
called me or what if I had not responded, PET would not exist.

(Earl’s picture is attached. You can also hear from him in our “Where
There’s a Wheel There’s a Way” main promotional video posted on our
website’s home page at about 2:30 minutes in. If you would like a DVD
mailed to you to share with others, please send me your name and postal
address. Kathy Maynard, Business Administrator)


“True creativity is characterized by a succession of acts each dependent
upon the one before it and suggesting the one after.” – Edwin Land

Mel West

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