In the heart of the Florida Keys, an unassuming hospital borders the main drag. Nothing unusual marks its appearance, except perhaps its plainness; red letters proclaim its name on the kitschy-green building, and a van that acts as an ambulance parks beside it.
Yet this hospital is extraordinary in almost every way—with the loving care it lavishes on its patients, with the volunteers who dedicate their lives to making it run, to the patients themselves, who are decidedly not run of the mill.
I’m talking about the Turtle Hospital in Marathon (2396 Overseas Highway). It opened its doors 1986 with four main goals:
- Rehab injured sea turtles and return them to their natural habitat
- Educate the public through outreach programs and visit local schools
- Conduct and assist with research aiding to sea turtles in conjunction with state universities
- Work toward environmental legislation making the beaches and water safe and clean for sea turtles
Check out my video of one resident who’s doing swimmingly well—and if you’re in the Marathon area, make sure to stop by for a visit.