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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The woman who founded a hospital for sea turtles in Pender County has won another award for her dedication.

Jean Beasley has been named the winner of the 2013 Ocean Hero Award by the environmental group Oceana. The group says Beasley was the clear winner among 12 finalists based on online voting.

“(I was) a bit incredulous,” Beasley told Oceana about learning she’d won. “I know that all the people that were nominated were worth… I also have really strong feelings about the fact that it takes us all – whatever people are passionate about and whatever they’re doing and wherever they are – to help the oceans, and help the planet, and it benefits us all.”

Oceana, which focuses on ocean conservation, began the Ocean Hero Awards in 2009 as a way to recognize and celebrate exceptional accomplishments in ocean conservation, advocacy and education.

Beasley opened the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Pender County in 1997. Since then, she and her volunteers have helped get 300 sick or injured sea turtles healthy enough to return to the wild.

In 2007 Beasley won the Animal Planet Hero of the Year Award for her work.

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