Florida Gov. Charlie Crist helped release an endangered green sea turtle off the Florida Keys Tuesday.

Crist, along with Monroe County Commissioner Mario Di Gennaro, staff members of the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Chairman Rodney Baretto helped carry “Margarita” to the ocean on Little Duck Key, a tiny island positioned at the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge. Margarita the Turtle

The 278-pound turtle has convalesced at the facility since May 30. U.S. Coast Guard personnel discovered it about two miles off Key West’s Mallory Square after becoming entangled in a crab trap line. The turtle’s left front flipper was severely damaged.

Once the turtle arrived at the hospital, a veterinary surgeon operated to remove the mangled flipper and the turtle remained at the facility to convalesce. Turtles missing flippers have no problem surviving and even mating and laying eggs, according to Ryan Butts, the hospital administrator.

“You know, it’s hard to express your feelings when you see this beautiful creature released back into its natural habitat, but it’s just sheer joy, and happiness,” Crist said. “To have an opportunity to play a small role in returning this beautiful sea turtle back to the sea is a very special privilege indeed.”

Located in Marathon, in the Middle Keys, The Turtle Hospital opened in 1986 and is the only licensed veterinary hospital in the world dedicated to the treatment of sea turtles.

Crist welcomed into home of Commissioner Mario DiGennaro

On the evening of Crist’s visit to the Florida Keys, he addressed supporters at the home of Monroe County Commissioner Mario DiGennaro. Crist is launching his campaign for the US Senate, offered his appreciation for the support, and told a story about his grandfather, a Cypress immigrant who came to America in search of a better life.


County Commissioner Mario DiGennaro and Crist are old friends. During his speech, Crist made it clear that he would funnel more support to the Keys as a US Senator. County Commissioner Mario DiGennaro



Although he is not a registered Republican, or even old enough to vote, Governor Crist told Weekly Deputy Editor, Josh Koler that he is Florida’s future. Pictured, with his dad, Jason and Commissioner DiGennaro. Deputy Editor Josh Koler



Legendary attorney and radio personality Jerry Coleman (right) and legendary accountant and developer Peter Rosasco (left) with “Citizens Not Serfs” Law Fellows Christen Spake and John November.



Lifelong Marathon resident and Real Estate Broker Brian Schmidt co-hosted the party. Pictured with Monroe County Sheriff Bob Peryam and his wife, Cindy.



Marathon Chamber of Commerce CEO rubbed elbows with Leadership Monroe classmate and State Representative Aide Holly Merrill. 




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