FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--You’ll search far and wide for a more picturesque town than Florida, Ohio. It sits on the banks of the Tiffin River, its homes and churches quaint and tidy. There’s only one traffic light in town, a yellow caution blinker. And just one store, the Wabash and Eric Market. It’s not a place you’d expect to find a nest of revolutionaries.
Tom and Dallas Andrew don’t look like revolutionaries but they are. The retired brothers spend their time building frames for odd-looking carts called Pet’s. It stands for personal energy transportation. It doesn’t look like much but in eighty of the world’s poorest countries this little hand-cranked vehicle means freedom.
Lon Min lives in Viet Nam. He stepped on a land mine as a child and lost both legs. He gets around the house on two wooden stools. The Pet Project gave him a Pet cart and for the first time in his life Lon Min can travel the streets of his city on his own.
It’s estimated twenty million people around the world don’t have use of their legs. Since 1994 the Pet Project has been working to help them. Parts for the Pet carts are made in several states, including Tom and Dallas Andrew’s shop in Florida, Ohio. The carts are assembled and shipped to eighty countries overseas, to thousands of very grateful people.
“We had one fellow send in a letter back from the Republic of Georgia,” says Tom. “He said ‘before the machine I was a miser and now I’m a man’. They crawl around on their hands and knees and the smiles on their faces when they finally can look another person in the eye instead of crawling along like a dog on their hands and knees looking up at people. We give them a new life.
The Pet Project is a quiet revolution, a generous revolutions but a revolution all the same. These two old buckeye brothers are right in the thick of it.
“How much longer you gonna be doing this?” says Tom, “Until we die probably. Or ‘till we can’t get the funds to do it. But I think we’re in it for life.”
Eric Olson reporting out in ‘Your Country’.
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