SANTA ROSA BEACH — The South Walton Fire District hosted its first Sandy Wheels Beach Day on Friday at the Miramar Beach beach access on Scenic Gulf Drive. The event was a fundraiser to purchase beach wheelchairs for use at South Walton's beach accesses.
During the event Walton and Okaloosa Beach Safety and Fire Rescue, along with Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast rehabilitation staff and volunteers assisted those with disabilities onto the beach with the specially designed wheelchairs.
Sue Sterling and Bill Thorns were two of several people with disabilities who turned out to enjoy the beach. Both are residents of Somerby Assisted Living.
"This is my first time to come to the beach," said Thorns, who has lived in the area since March.
Sterling said she comes with her granddaughter sometimes but has had to stay on the pavement instead of coming down onto the sand.
"I would come more often if I had access to one of these wheelchairs," she said.
The special wheelchairs cost about $2,400. Walton County Tourist Development Council has five that it provides free at beach accesses, but could use more, Beach Safety Director David Vaughan said.
To donate visit www.youcaring.com/sandywheelsbeachday.