Residents Use Woodshop for Community Service Project
There are 20 million people in the world who need a wheelchair but cannot access one. The P.E.T. (Personal Energy Transportation) Project is an organization that started to provide availability of transport chairs free of charge to people who desperately need them. Modified from a standard wheelchair, these mobility carts are built for tough terrain and are powered by a hand crank.
Harold Files, a resident of St. John’s Meadows, has been working with this organization for over 20 years to help cut and sand pieces of wood used to assemble the carts. Harold uses the community woodshop to cut, sand, and store his pieces. He has a customized shelving unit in the woodshop that currently stores 360 pieces. Harold explained he gets the pieces created and sanded and then sends them down to another hub of the P.E.T. project in Pennsylvania. The pieces are assembled into the final carts and sent over to multiple countries for distribution. “It gives people independence they would never have,” says Harold.
Over these past two years he has lived in a cottage at St. John’s Meadows and steadily helped the P.E.T. Project, even while recovering from a medical procedure. He recently brought his passion to other residents and implored their help. A group of about ten residents gathered together to help Harold sand several of his pieces from the woodshop. He had a mobility cart on display to show everyone what their contributions will become. Listening to Harold tell the residents about the organization and how many people they help each year is truly inspiring. Since bringing awareness of this need, Harold has recruited several residents who agreed to consistently help him sand pieces. Harold’s ultimate goal for the woodshop is to use it for multiple community service projects. “The majority of the organization is people like me who are retired and donate their time.”
The organization believes that mobility is a basic human right and provides over 1,000 carts to countries each year. They strive to bring dignity and independence to people so they are able to go to work, school, church, and carry things. Harold raises funds for this organization through his church, Greece Baptist Church.