Supplied photo courtesy of Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation
Katie Mansmann enjoys a visit to Wrightsville Beach in 2009 with the aid of a beach wheelchair provided by the town.
The town of Wrightsville Beach will soon expand its free sand wheelchair service with the addition of two wheelchairs, thanks to a $6,000 Quality of Life grant awarded by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
The grant will bring the total of town sand wheelchairs to four, with previous donations by Wrightsville United Methodist Church Vacation Bible School and Wrightsville Beach residents Jeff and Patti Mansmann.
Katie Ryan, parks and recreation program supervisor, said the Mansmanns’ niece, Katie, uses the sand wheelchair service when she visits Wrightsville Beach.
The town of Carolina Beach also offers a sand wheelchair service.
“There’s more and more around,” Ryan said. “People are seeing the need for it. They’re all in and out all summer long. They keep us very busy, but it’s a great service.”
The wheelchairs wear out with weather and usage, but typically last for a few years.
“We want to research the metals they are using on them,” Ryan said. “They take a beating down here, so we want to make sure we get one that will last as long as possible.”
She said she will order the wheelchairs as soon as possible and the town will be in good shape for this summer, but that she does not know if the town could handle any more wheelchairs due to storage and staffing.
“I think four is about what we can handle,” Ryan said. “We just hope to continue to be able to keep some in service at all times.”
The mission of the Reeve Foundation is a dedication to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.
The town of Wrightsville Beach is one of 76 grant recipients to receive a total of $427,000, in the United States. Since 1999, the Quality of Life grants program has awarded 2,131 grants for a total of more than $16 million to address the needs of children and adults with paralysis and other mobility impairments and their families.
To reserve a wheelchair, people can call the parks office at 910-256-7925, on Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to make a reservation.