View Full Version : the Tetra Society....

07-15-2007, 07:27 PM
TinFalcon asked me to post a thread about the Tetra Society...well here goes.
Tetra was founded or grew out of some work done by Sam Sullivan, currently the mayor of Vancouver, who is himself a quadrapalegic in a wheelchair....It is a group of technical people (engineers, technologists, designers, machinists, technicians...etc.) who design, build & modify assistive devices for handicapped people. All are volunteers who donate their time & services, but the Society & usually various service agencies will help fund materials or travel time.
The Vancouver area chapter is made up of mostly men ( there are 2 women members) from many walks of life & backgrounds, retired or still working. We have several retired telco technical people, an electronics tech from Africa, mechanical & civil engineers, machinists, a metal fabricator, a plastics technician...lots of technical skills. I have to admit that I'm in awe of the organizing ability and work output of guys like Eric and Jay Drew. (Mechanical P. Eng who also owns a concrete products company, International Lok-Block. The guy is a good welder & machinist in his own right too....)
As I also operate a business, I can't always be as involved as I'd like to be, but I have done or helped with 3 projects in the last while. My thing seems to be door holdback devices to allow wheelchair bound people to push open their apartment door & keep it from closing on them as they drive thru. Not really a problem that people with normal mobility & strength think about. It's amazing what you can do with a few bits of steel & wood and some magnets from Lee Valley.
Volunteers can select or be assigned projects at our monthly meetings, where we also can get assistance/ feedback on problems we may have with a project. We often get to work with occupational therapists and the clients themselves too. Sometimes it's trying to deal with people that are more than just physically handicapped, but the feeling of accomplishment is good. Most people are very appreciative.
I thought there were a couple of other guys on here who are or were involved with Tetra. I saw it as a logical extension of being an HSM'er and personally a way of giving back a bit, since I'm normally a selfish capitalist..... ;). Also payback to my neighbours who maybe suffer thru all the weird scraping & screetching noises, paint fumes & welding smoke that emanate from my home shop some nights.
I guess I really should enter the 20th century & try posting pics. Presently the digicam is full of Jack Russell terrier pics from a terrier meet a few weeks ago. (Another hobby/ sickness....) The mind boggles at the thought of 54 hyper-kinetic little dogs all in one spot. Poor West Vancouver.....
So that's a brief outline of Tetra, mostly....

07-15-2007, 08:26 PM
My hat is off to you and all that volunteer there time for such a good cause. I thought I read about them before on this site? I seem to recall a fellow needed something made to assist him while hunting from his wheel-chair.

Tin Falcon
07-15-2007, 08:33 PM
Dick thanks:
Interesting work something to think about. There appears to be no chapter in this area, south east of Philly I am not sure if I am up to starting a chapter. I have thought about starting an engineering 4-H club. We typically think of 4H as agricultural related and it sort of is. But one can start a club with a hand full of hand picked kids from the neighborhood and have just about any focus including air rifle clubs , welding clubs and engineering clubs. 4-H also has a community outreach as part of there meetings. When my son was involved they often wrote cards to guys in the local veterans home. A 4-H club that engineers stuff to help the handicapped?? Hmmm!!
There is a local organization called the ARC (Association of Retarded Citizens) I had the opportunity to visit one a while back. They have a contract with a national latch company doing a lot of work drilling/tapping cleaning of cast rubber parts assembly and packaging. Seemed like a neat place it gives the folks that have a little harder time with life a stronger sense of purpose. Seems like a happy place for the workers.
Keep up the good work