Volunteers build 10 PETs during Memphis Annual Conference


Daniel Schingle drives the hand-powered PET with PET Memphis Director Mark Girffy standing on back during the 2013 Memphis Annual Conference. Photo by Paul Junkins

Volunteers pause for a moment with five of the ten PETs constructed during the 2013 Memphis Annual Conference. Photo by Paul Junkins

By Casey Northcutt

Delegates at the 2013 Memphis Annual Conference in June had the chance to see a PET shop up close. Organized as a display, the shop assembled Personal Energy Transports designed to help people in third-world countries who suffer from limited mobility.
PET International, a nonprofit organization, began in 1995 to provide three-wheeled, hand-cranked wheelchairs for victims of polio and landmines in Africa. Now, PET International ships transportation products around the world from branches located across the United States.
“(PETs) are important because there are so many people in the world that don’t have the gift of mobility that we take advantage of every day,” PET Memphis Director Mark Griffy said. “We’re able to provide them a service … the gift of getting them off the ground.”
PET Memphis, a local branch of PET International, sponsored the Memphis Annual Conference shop as a way to give delegates hands-on information about the vehicles and to inspire people to get involved.
“We know that many people have heard about the PET project, and many have helped us out and donated money or parts,” Griffy said. “But, many have never seen the process (or witnessed) the time it takes to put one together.”
Thanks to $2,500 in donations from the Asbury District, the organization built 10 PETs during the event. Conference delegates, the director said, reacted positively to the demonstrations, and many new churches expressed interested in helping the PET cause. Some wanted to raise funds and others wanted to make vehicle parts and ship them to PET headquarters. Griffy loved the enthusiasm.
“When we talk about missions and outreach, so many people think it’s right there in your community,” he said. “We’ve got to go outside our boundaries to help other folks and to do the mission work of the Church.”
Griffy said he wants as many people and churches as possible to get involved with the organization and to help it reach its goal of assembling 100 PETs per year.
To learn more about the PET project and how to participate in building and distributing the vehicles, visit the PET Memphis website.