COLUMBIA -- The smile on Kevin Adams' face was almost as radiant as the sun that warmed the steps of the Statehouse on Monday morning.
Adams -- a 16-year-old who attends Dreher High and the Heyward Career and Technology Center, battles cerebral palsy and earns A's -- was honored by Gov. Mark Sanford with a citizenship award, one of 1,007 S.C. students recognized for exhibiting character, service, leadership, responsibility and discipline.
Adams demonstrated all of that by taking a few steps.
The crowd of honored students, teachers and family members cheered loudly when Adams rose from his wheelchair and walked across the Statehouse steps to receive his award from Sanford.
The unassisted steps were some of the first he has taken in four years, since the cerebral palsy robbed him of his mobility and forced him into a wheelchair.
Adams' father, Victor Adams, a major in the S.C. Army National Guard in Afghanistan, was able to see his son take those steps Monday through a Webcast set up by Fort Jackson's school liaison officer, Ruth Russell.
Adams underwent a surgical procedure to improve his flexibility and now, four years and many rehabilitation sessions later, he is walking again.
"It was very emotional," said Geneva Adams, Kevin's mother. "I was so proud of him."
So was the governor, who personally gave Adams his award as teachers in the audience presented other students with their awards.
Kevin Adams said: "I was nervous, excited. Meeting the governor was an honor."
Victor Adams, in Afghanistan with the 218th Brigade Combat Team, had not seen his wife or son since August, when he was home on leave. When he left, his son was only able to walk with the assistance of others.
"I can see and hear everything," Victor Adams said through the Web camera. "I want to thank everyone for this opportunity. God bless you all. I am so proud of Kevin."
The Webcast added another layer of joy to what was a momentous day for the Adams family.
"Can I kiss the monitor?" Geneva Adams asked Russell, who was working to keep the Webcast going. "I'm just asking."
Russell blushed, and Geneva Adams laughed that she would settle for being able to blow a kiss to her husband.
"Hey, sweetheart," Geneva Adams said as her husband saw his wife and son from 7,000 miles away. "We're thankful to have this opportunity to talk to you. I know you're proud of Kevin. I'll let Kevin talk."
Geneva and Kevin could not see Victor, but that mattered little. Kevin Adams was eager to speak to his father.
"I'm happy to have an opportunity to talk to you," Kevin Adams told his father. "I love you. I miss you."