CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - Tattooing veterans to help them have a better future, that's what Operation Tattooing Freedom's (O.T.F) Mission is.
The goal is to help veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and connect them with an artist that will help them close a chapter in their lives by memorializing a significant event and even lend an ear in the process.
U.S. Navy Veteran Lewis Hunt got the idea after he sat down for a tattoo with an artist who shared the bond of military service.
Getting inked causes your brain to release endorphins and dopamine..which helps you relax...making it easier to open up...
Professional Tattoo artist at Black Cloud Tattoo piercing and supply say that people open up to them about almost anything.
Hunt decided if it worked on him that it could work on others. So he started connecting Veterans with artist. Hunt believes that most veterans don’t seek for help with counselors because of a stigma in the military but talking to someone that’s outside that world, human to human or veteran to veteran, helps veterans feel safe about discussing their issues.
Retired U.S. Army Captain Jason Shulz has gone through the program. He suffers from mild P.TS.D. For him, the tattoo reminds him to not forget but not stay in the moment forever.
The tattoo is free for veterans that meet the qualifications and through fundraising O.T.F is able to pay artists for their time consuming work.
If you want to help donate, or are a Veteran or Artist that wants to participate go to: Operation Tattooing Freedom’s website.