Dexter men's group helps provide the gift of mobility - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Dexter men's group helps provide the gift of mobility

DEXTER, MO (KFVS) -

"Where there's a wheel, there's a way." That's the motto a group of retirees in Stoddard County is living by.

With a little time and hard work, they're giving people in more than 90 third world countries something they've never had, their independence.

"I feel like we're making a difference," said Larry Reid.

Inside "Granddad's Shop" in Dexter there's a real labor of love. "It's very rewarding to do something for someone else outside yourself," said Jerry Overfelt.

A couple of years ago Larry Reid went to some fellow church members with an idea.

"He knows a lot of retired old men looking for ways to kill time," said Jerry Overfelt. 

The men's club at Dexter First United Methodist Church took on a pet project, literally. They're part of a ministry that makes PETs, or "Personal Energy Transportation".

They are three-wheeled carts which are hand powered.

"It's for people who've lost the use of their legs due to injuries, or land mines is a big thing or disease and birth defects," said Larry Reid.

The PETs are made all over the U.S. and sent to more than 90 countries.

This group in Dexter is a piece of the puzzle. "It's like Santa's workshop in here," said Overfelt. 

They use patterns to cut, sand, and upholster parts for the PETs. Most of what they make is used in the seat area of the carts.

"It's a small drop in the bucket. They make about 5,000 a year." said Reid. 

The parts are then taken to Columbia, Missouri for assembly.

"Just the satisfaction of doing it to help someone else, someone not as fortunate as we are," said Reid, 

"Some of the pictures will break your heart," said Overfelt. "Some of these people have been crawling on the ground for 20 years."

Now they have mobility, and with that...independence.

"A total improvement on their lives, makes you feel good," said Overfelt.

The group of men also makes wooden toy cars for kids overseas. Several different churches and organizations nationwide are involved in the PET Project. The idea originated in Missouri.

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