JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- In the sun, on the sand and in the waves is where Drew Kohn spent much of his time.
"Every time you turn around, 'Dad, I'm going to the beach. Dad, I'm going to the beach,'" said David Kohn, Drew's father.
That all changed in July 2017 when Drew's motorcycle collided with a car. The former Oakleaf High School football standout was initially believed to be brain dead. Doctors told his family he would likely never walk or talk again.
"I remember walking into the hospital room and seeing him lying there. This once great linebacker lying there practically lifeless," said Kenil Edmond, Drew's friend and former teammate. "All I could do was pray and shed tears and then pray some more."
After being in a coma for eight months, Drew woke up and has been making miraculous progress ever since.
Edmond and a group of former Oakleaf High School football players and supporters, some who had never met Drew's family, wanted to make his dream of going back to the beach come true, and they found a way despite a big obstacle.
"Normal wheelchairs are not prepared for sand," said Drew's mother, Yolanda Osborne-Kohn.
Thanks to a specially designed beach wheelchair, free for anyone to use at Jacksonville Beach, Drew's family and friends were able to surprise him with a trip to the beach.
"A sense of normalcy," said Drew's mom. "He is so happy. He's just been wanting to do this since he woke up, and to be able to have something so simple. Just to watch your child's eyes light up to do that one simple thing. At the beach, he says he feels closer to heaven. That's what he said."
With his parents by his side, and a crowd of supporters cheering him on, Drew got to feel the salt water splash up on his feet.
"Literally, it's a miracle on wheels. I'm grateful, and it's just a testament one to faith and to how God can work miracles in miraculous ways and the fact that a praying mother never gave up," said Edmond.
For months it looked like Drew might never wake up. Now every moment matters.
"For a 23-year-old semi-pro athlete who ran on the beach, who threw the football on the beach and played every sport that you can imagine, this is like a big deal. This is not any small feat for someone who couldn't walk, couldn't talk, who couldn't breathe, who was on a lot of systems that were breathing and working for him. This is a miracle," said Osborne-Kohn.
A miracle that doesn't stop here.
"God is a miracle maker every day, and I'm thankful today that he did the miracle with Drew, and next time we come to this beach, he is going to walk to the water. He's not going to ride in that chair. That's his determination, and we are going to see him through it," said Kathryn Davis who watched Drew play football in high school and helped coordinate his trip to the beach.
"He's a strong, strong man. I believe he's come this far, the miracle continues," said Edmond.
If you or someone you know wants to use a free beach wheelchair, they are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Lifeguard Station in Jacksonville Beach. You can call (904) 249-9141 for more information.