BREWER – Veterans and their family and friends showed off their ink at the second annual Veterans Benefit Tattoo Contest, put on by the Maine Veterans Project.
“Tattoos and military kinda go hand and hand,” said one of the participants and a U.S. Army veteran, Clint Richardson.
Judged by artists from four different local shops, participants competed Sunday in categories like best military themed and best black and white.
“Being that my father’s a veteran, it’s really big to me and I like to see the support,” said Kiel Slayton, a tattoo artist at Diversified Ink.
Sunday’s event at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer served as a fundraiser for the Maine Veterans Project, which helps local vets in various ways. They’re finishing two roofs at homes of veterans in need, will be donating cars, and setting up a heating fuel fund.
“It’s a great way to open up dialogue,” said Shawn “Doc” Goodwin, the president of Maine Veterans Project and a veteran himself. “Every tattoo tells a story.”
He said the contest also works as a way to raise awareness about one of Maine Veterans Project’s key causes – suicide prevention.
“It’s great to bring vets out and get vets talking to veterans and opening up, and maybe getting some of those things off their chest that would normally stay there,”said Goodwin.
The tattoos were judged by their composition, saturation, and other techniques. The Veterans Day contest also featured live music from a band led by a marine.
For the vets there, it was a fun way to honor those who gave all, and support those who have come home.
“Doc’s got a really good thing going here and any opportunity that I can, I want to get out and support his cause,” said Corey Butterfield, a U.S. Army National Guard veteran.
“To be here and support Doc, this awesome event, the whole thing that he’s got going on is just mind blowing,” said Richardson, “so to be a small piece of it really means a lot to me.”
There’s another way you can help support the Maine Veterans Project. On Monday from three to five p.m., Pepino’s Mexican Restaurant in Bangor will be donating a portion of their proceeds to the Maine Veterans Project.