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PET volunteers open doors to show off new powder-coating machine

Organization at Penney Farms get $60,000 grant from Rotary, Interact clubs

Don Coble
Posted 5/23/24

PENNEY FARMS – Rotary District 6970 Gov. John Tabor said he hopes there will be a day when the world won’t need volunteers to build hand-powered Personal Energy Transportation tricycles. But …

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PET volunteers open doors to show off new powder-coating machine

Organization at Penney Farms get $60,000 grant from Rotary, Interact clubs


Posted

PENNEY FARMS – Rotary District 6970 Gov. John Tabor said he hopes there will be a day when the world won’t need volunteers to build hand-powered Personal Energy Transportation tricycles.

But until that day comes – and it won’t be anytime soon – he’s glad there’s a group of men who work year-round at Penney Farms to build the only forms of transportation many with polio can use for transportation in desolate areas of the world.

He also appreciates the commitment of the Rotary and Interact clubs in the region, which worked together to donate $60,000 for a powder-coating machine for PET Florida.

“This is an interesting project consistent with Rotary’s global efforts to eradicate polio,” Tabor said during an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday celebrating the new machine. “I realized that we help folks with disabilities and challenges of all types. But it’s personal when it comes to polio.”

Rotary Clubs from Fleming Island, Orange Park, Orange Park Sunset, Green Cove Springs, Orange Park Sunrise and St. Augustine Sunset, along with Interact Club from Green Cove Springs Junior High, joined World Wide Mobility and other supporters to make the purchase possible.

Powder coating is a process that adds free-flowing, dry powder instead of conventional liquid paint to metal objects. It is cured under heat or with ultraviolet light, provides a thicker, more durable coating, has a shorter curing time, and is more economical than paint.

“This project has always impressed me when we talk about throwing a stone into a pond, and the ripples have personal energy transportation,” said Rotary District Grant Chair Carolyn Mudgette. “Believe me, we had a terrific time learning what you guys do. The powder coating is sexy. The next step of this project will be in the decades to come. So when the share committee met, this was one of the projects that was a no-brainer because it’s sustainable. It improves the lives of so many people.”

Before Tabor cut the ribbon and guests saw the powder-coating machine, he turned toward the PET volunteers and offered a simple thank you.

“I wish this project didn’t need to exist,” he said. But as long as we do, continue doing the great work you’re doing in the community.”