2005 Ethiopian boy found in need of mobility.
He was using wooden handles to crawl on the ground.


At age 97, and in this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two words Barbara and I use frequently are “privilege” and “gratitude”. Born on farms during the Great Depression, and having attended one room schools and small high schools, we were given the privilege of higher educations that equipped us for a post-war world. From our roots in solid moral and ethical rules, we were given wings.

With our church teaching us to “do unto others” we began to find others whose “hearts were as ours” (John Wesley, Methodist founder) and began to join hands with them. For over 55 years we have become friends and co-workers with the founders and volunteers of the NGO’s that are pouring out their lives as servants to those in need. They are called Heifer, Habitat, ECHO, Alfalit, SIFAT, ACTS, Rainbow Network, CWS, The Sewing Machine Project (within our 501c3), The Container Project (within our 501c3), Orphan Grain Train, Partners for Care, our own Mobility Worldwide, and many more. We are often called “Social Entrepreneurs”. I contend that there is no finer group of individuals on this Earth than those working with such. Wes Jackson, founder of the Land Institute, Salina, KS, says that if we are working with a project that can be completed in our lifetime, we are “thinking too small.”
Our own Mobility Worldwide understands the wisdom of Dr. Jackson. The WHO (World Health Organization) tells us that there are 63,000,000 persons on our Earth still in need of help for personal mobility. We seldom see them for they are hidden away in deep poverty, indignity, pain, disgrace and without hope. MW has sent the immobile over 90,000 of our hand-cranked Mobility Carts in the last 27 years. Of those, 28,227 were built at the Columbia shop.
Personally, Barbara and I live at a senior center called Lenoir Woods, in Columbia, MO. Barbara’s health is fragile, but mine is still quite good. So, I am learning to be a caretaker, a shopper, a cook, and maintain a large garden. Barbara has an aide 9-12/5. So, we say we are privileged for having such a world-wide cadre of wonderful, caring co-workers and friends. We are grateful for the memories we have as we approach life’s end. The greatest gift a person can either receive or give, is the gift of an opportunity. Our life has been invested in both receiving and giving opportunities.

Mel West, Director Emeritus