Free specialized beach wheelchairs programs available in Seaside, Gearhart

(KPTV Image)

Seaside now offers free specialized beach wheelchairs for people with disabilities to check out.

It's a moment Patty Stanley-Meade has waited for.

"I got to get out of the chair twice and go in the ocean and feel the waves wash over my feet and legs," Stanley-Meade, who lives in Seaside said.

The moment was captured on video of her enjoying the beach for the first time in more than 20 years.

"It was absolutely awesome," Stanley-Meade said. "Very emotional, because I can't walk very far or stand."

Stanley-Meade was able to get her feet wet thanks to another Seaside local, Randy Anderson. Anderson's 21-year-old daughter lives with a disability.

"I've been advocating for her my whole life and I'm a strong advocate for all people who experience disabilities," Anderson said.

So when Anderson noticed all people didn't have easy access to the beaches he lives by and loves, he decided to change that.

"Typical wheelchairs and sand, it just doesn't mix," he said.

Anderson set out to start a program in Seaside that offers free specialized beach wheelchairs for people with disabilities to check out.

"I went to the Seaside City Council and proposed the idea to them," he said. "They were all on board, gave me their blessing, and then we had a local business donate a couple of used chairs to the program."

He said all of this happened last month in about a week's span. In that time, Anderson also found a place to house the chairs at Seaside's Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District.

"It's just, everything has fallen into place just beautifully," Anderson said. "It's just been phenomenal."

Most recently, Anderson expanded the program to the City of Gearhart as well.

"Everyone at the council meeting just, they thought this was such a great program and just a no-brainer," City of Gearhart Mayor, Matt Brown said.

A no-brainer, that's bringing communities along the Oregon coast together.

"I have several people that have volunteered to push me into the ocean," Stanley-Meade said laughing. "It's just a joy, my heart is full."

Cannon Beach and Manzanita already have a beach wheelchair program.

The chairs are free to check out in Seaside for a four hour period at Seaside's Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District. Anderson hopes to find an even closer spot to the beach to house the chairs in the near future.

Gearhart is set to get its first chair next week, which will be housed at Gearhart by the Sea.

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