Sea turtle helps a soldier heal

13News Now Philip Townsend was there when a man released a sea turtle in honor of his late best friend.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) --- Relaxation and reflection are easy to find at the Oceanfront.

On 47th Street Friday,  James Spray also found a needed goodbye.

“It really felt like my friend was back with me,” said Spray. “He was there just in a different form.”

Former Army Ranger Jason Benchimol took his own life three months ago.

He was a close friend of James, and the loss has been hard to process. James is a former soldier, and like his friend, he too struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“It’s very real,” said Spray.

But when James accidentally caught a sea turtle during a recent fishing trip, it allowed him to start the healing process.

“He just seemed so peaceful,” said Spray. “He was just speaking to me. Jason was speaking to me.”

That's why James came to the Oceanfront Friday with the people from the Virginia Beach Aquarium.

The turtle, now named Ranger Tan in Jason’s honor, is being released back into the ocean.

“Tan is the color of the beret Rangers wear,” said Spray.

James will never fully understand why Jason left, but at least now he has a proper goodbye.

PHOTOS: Sea turtle's release helps soldier to heal

© 2017 WVEC-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories