Second chances, new opportunities and fresh starts, that's the motto for one new North Austin business that's giving back to the community. They are giving back by offering free tattoo removal for those who are not able to enlist in the military because of their tattoos and to children under the age of 18.
“It was a shooting star for a friend of mine who committed suicide about 6 years ago.” There was no remorse for Chelsea Harrison when she got her tattoo behind her ear, but knowing now what she didn't know then, she may have made a different decision. “I'm trying to join the navy. I've been trying to join the navy since March.” Harrison didn't know that decision many years ago would keep her from her dreams of joining the military. “It's anything above the neckline pretty much because your hair always has to be pulled back so it's just uniform policy,” she said.
Harrison is not alone in being held back from her dreams because of tattoos. “I called the Air force, I called the Army, they will not even let you in the reserves, said Savannah Hunt who also wants to join the military. She not only wants to serve her country , she wants to be a role model for her daughter, but being a single mom having the extra money to get her tattoos removed is another roadblock.
Fortunately for both of these women, a new business in Austin is helping them rewind and take away something they thought was permanent. Tim Hill is the President of the Fresh Start Laser Clinic “That's one of the things that we wanted to do, we wanted to give back within our practice,” he said. Staying true to its name the clinic opened its doors in August and said they're mission is to help people get those second chances They give discounts for active and veteran military members, police officers, firefighters and teachers. For those wanting to enlist in the military, they just need a referral from their recruiter and they can have their unwanted ink removed for free. “This is really important to us as kind of a way to support our troops and our folks that are really working to keep us free and safe,” Hill said.
What many would think is an unlikely client, children under 18, no matter what the circumstances can also have their tattoos removed at no cost. Fresh Starts first young client was a 17-year-old girl who got a tattoo of a cross which is something against her religion. She said she regretted her decision.
Regrets or not, the end result for all these people equals a new beginning. “It takes a lot off my shoulders. I actually have been stressing because I haven't really had the financial means to do it,” Harrison said. “It was really a blessing to have them say ‘Oh hey you know just come in, we'll do this for free’ and I was just astonished,” Hunt said.
For more information on the Fresh Start Clinic, you can click here.