[image-1]Blu Gorilla Tattoo opened its doors to firefighters this past Tuesday and Thursday, offering free tattoos to commemorate the recent loss of nine of their brethren. On Tuesday, they gave 76 tattoos over the course of 12 hours. That still wasn’t enough time to take care of everybody, so they extended the offer for today. Local and regional firefighters lined up early for the free ink and filled the waiting room to capacity, spilling out into the back parking area.
Owners Tim Dennis and Alex Baranow decided to offer their services to the firefighters as a way of giving thanks and honoring the fallen 9. Said Dennis, “It was something we had to do. You should hear those guys when they get together. They’re joking around and smiling. That’s a good thing.” They expected a strong turnout, but were unprepared for the huge response.
[image-2]Dennis was quick to point out that the arrangement was a group effort. Catering was provided by Gourmet Bay, ice came from Rhye Ice, and Snyder rentals offered their services. Family and friends from Blu Gorilla pitched in also.
The four artists who contributed were Tim Dennis, Steven Beasley, Shantelle Rovaris, and Glenn Collins. Beasley is actually a four-year veteran firefighter who was on the scene that day. He’s an engineer with the St. Andrew’s Fire Department.
[image-3]His first living canvas was Dewayne Jacques who serves with Engine 18 in the Charleston Fire Department. Jacques chose a Maltese cross arrangement with the number 9 in the middle, surrounded by the words “All gave some, some gave all”. It was a common request. In all, firefighters had eighteen designs to choose from, ranging from script of the names of fallen brothers, to Kanji characters, to a variety of designs incorporating the number nine.
Of his decision to get inked, Jacques related “It’ll be the first thing I see when I wash my hands or my face. It’s to remember. Everyday.”