MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - One of the many perks of living in a beach community is the beach, but getting down to the sand isn't easy for everyone.
With nearly 100,000 people with disabilities in Walton and Okaloosa counties, having enough beach accessible wheelchairs to help everyone is an impossible task.
"South Walton Fire District has five and Okaloosa County has three so that only creates eight wheelchairs for our community, so obviously, eight wheelchairs isn't enough, " said Sandy Wheels Founder, Leslie Moskal.
But Friday, Moskal, along with other groups including South Walton and Okaloosa Beach Safety and Fire Departments, Sacred Heart Emerald Coast Rehabilitation staff, and other volunteers, came together at the Miramar Beach access next to Pompano Joe's to help people with disabilities have a day of fun at the beach.
"I can't even describe how grateful we are to have it because the bigger she gets the more I'm looking at surfaces," said Amy Crowley, whose daughter uses the beach wheelchairs. "I'm always navigating with a wheelchair and it's really opened up a whole new world for her to be able to come easily and experience the water."
"I've had a broken ankle since Easter weekend," said Jeff Ruff visiting from Johnson City, Tennessee. "What am I gonna if I have to run to the bathroom and she's like I don't know, so she came up here and talked to the lifeguards and they said they have this program where they could wheel me up here and I'm like cool that's really convenient. Super convenient, so I'm really glad y'all are doing this"
Sandy Wheels organizers gathered 15 beach accessible wheelchairs for Friday's event.
Beach goers and event visitors had the chance to donate to the Sandy Wheels organization, who hope to raise enough money to buy more chairs.
If you would like to donate to this cause, see the link under related articles.