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Reef balls make a lasting legacy

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SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) -- People gathered to help guarentee lost loved ones a lasting legacy in North Carolina waters. Eternal Reefs mixes the remains into a concrete ball and then families place them in the ocean.

Reef balls are not only a permanent memorial. They also help the diminishing reef system in the ocean. One woman says she is excited to visit her sister.

"I'm going to get my diving. I'm going to try, if I don't get too old, but I want to go ahead and get my diving license. I think it would be kind of cool to go down and see it one day," Mary Wyatt from Florida says.

People came from all over to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital in Surf City to add the remains of loved ones who recently died to Dare's Reef. One participant says her mother did not want their family to have her ashes just laying around.

"It's very, very special for this family. We all love turtles, so to all come down here to meet as a family is amazing. We can always know where she is and she's living. She'll be living," Sarah Warren from Virginia says.

Family members participated in the casting time, where they remember and memorialize by decorating the reef ball. Some put sea shells, plaques, and even pieces of home.

"My little brother's home with him. A little bit of the Pacific Ocean water and some San Francisco sand and mix it in with his ashes so that he could always have a part of California with him," Jackson Murphy from California says.

Monday family and friends will go out to the reef and watch their loved one's reef balls lowered into the water.

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