by Sean Macken

The Gulf Coast Community came together Saturday to celebrate Beach Day at the Wheel Way, which offers those with disabilities direct access to the Beach and Gulf of Mexico.

The Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport, in partnership with the University of South Mississippi Gulf Park Campus’ Institute for Disability Studies, sponsored the creation of the Wheel Way and the City of Long Beach used a grant from the Junior Auxiliary to deploy a series of all-weather mats and sunshades enabling wheelchair access to the beach.

Junior Auxiliary member Kim Aguillard opened the event and welcomed everyone to the Wheel Way while local media personality and political candidate Rebecca Powers led the program thanking sponsors, the Junior Auxiliary and the City of Long Beach for making the Wheel Way a reality.  Long Beach Alderman-at-Large at Large Donald Frazer echoed the sentiments of those women and expressed how proud the City of Long Beach could provide this capability for all on the MS Gulf Coast.

A motivational Speaker and accessibility specialist for the City of Hattiesburg, MS closed the ceremony with a rousing talk encouraging those in attendance, especially those with disabilities, to not focus on the negative. Life was too short.

From there, the event turned to various games on the beach along with attendees having access to various medical and American Disability Association related services to assist families with questions and needs to help their loved ones.

Finally, in attendance was newly elected Miss Wheelchair Mississippi and Harrison County native, Miss Emily Oliver. This was her first official engagement since winning her title in February.