How PET OH-Stow Came to Be

 Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there. Genesis 43:30

What’s going on here?

When famine struck the land of Israel, Joseph’s brother went to Egypt seeking food.  Joseph, who controlled Egypt’s food supply, was moved to tears of compassion.

How does this relate to today?

Vince Petno, a retired physician, is similarly moved to work on behalf those in developing countries that are unable to walk.

In March, 2013, Vince and his wife, Lee, took a vacation in Florida.

But God had a vocation for them.

Vince and Lee Petno

Vince and Lee Petno

Just prior for leaving for Florida, Vince and Lee dealt with funeral arrangements for Lee’s father, who passed away in that time frame. Given God’s perfect timing, Vince contacted a friend in Gainesville, Florida. Vince and the friend had both done missions work in Haiti.

During their phone call, the friend told Vince about his plans to bless a Haitian girl who couldn’t walk. The friend said he was going to take a PET to the girl, to provide her with mobility. The circumstances of that statement impacted Vince strongly, because Vince had a heart for Haiti, and he personally knew of the girl who was to receive the PET.

Drawn by compassion

Vince had never before heard of a PET, or Personal Energy Transportation device. God drew Vince to research PET International’s history, PET’s mission, the story behind PET hand cranked wheelchair devices, and the impact the gift of mobility could have on the lives of people who could not walk. He learned how PETs had transformed lives of isolation to lives of engagement. And how PETs enabled people in remote areas to move from being passive to being productive.

Vince’s internet research soon drew him to the PET FL-Penney Farms website. That PET affiliate was only an hour away from where Vince and Lee were staying. So, Vince arranged to visit.

From drawing to vision

When Vince knocked on the door at the Penney Farms facility, it was Larry Hills, retired missionary and PET co-founder, who answered. Larry took Vince on a 90-minute tour of the facility.  Vince heard directly from the co-founder amazing stories of people going from a life of crawling to a life of mobility and dignity after receiving a PET. Equally inspiring were the stories of people who came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the work of PET International. However, the Penney Farms facility was not in the production mode during this visit.

With his mind and spirit being more and more moved by what God was doing through the PET organization, Vince again visited PET FL-Penney Farms. This time, Vince caught a concrete vision for a PET operation in Ohio. After seeing the Florida site in production mode, Vince asked Larry Hills what it would take to do PET production in northeast Ohio.  Larry responded by giving Vince a packet with all the answers.

From vision to reality

Dick and Carol Heasley

Dick and Carol Heasley
Photo by Bob Zeller

In a few months, PET OH-Stow went from concept to a PET International certified production affiliate. Vince credits God for bringing together a Dream Team, including his good friend Dick Heasley and others to make the new affiliate reality.

Likewise, Christ Community Chapel, a multi-location church headquartered in Hudson, Ohio, has provided substantial support. In December, 2013, PET OH-Stow celebrated its open house, helping existing and potential volunteers, donors and prayer partners catch the vision of providing mobility and dignity to others in the name of Christ.

Joe and KarenCoffey

Joe and Karen Coffey
Christ Community Chapel Lead Pastor and wife.
Photo by Bob Zeller

As more and more hearts are moved by this vision, PET OH-Stow is gaining momentum. The new affiliate has produced six PETs as of February, 2014. Facilities, equipment and volunteer workers are in place to ramp up to a production rate of 30 PETs per month. To date, funds are on hand to support two months’ production, which will benefit people in Guatemala.  The plan is to distribute the first set of PETs in July, 2014.

What’s next?

PET OH-Stow is seeking funding for ongoing operations. Vince’s Dream Team is reaching out to potential donors and prayer partners who are similarly moved by God’s compassion. Likewise, potential volunteer workers are encouraged to learn more about PET OH-Stow.

For more information, please contact one of the following:

Lee Petno, Christ Community Chapel Local Outreach Ministry Coordinator, at: .

Vince Petno, President of PET OH Stow at: , by cell at 330.322.8308.

Dick Heasley, Board of Trustees member of PET OH Stow at: , by cell at 330.338.5693