Although Colorado is half a world away from Australia, some residents here are figuring out clever ways to help out the nation currently going through its worst wildfires in decades. On Thursday, January 16, True Blue Tattoo in Lakewood will be offering Australia-themed tattoos as part of a fundraiser for firefighters there.
"The first and most pressing issue is getting the fires out," says Peter Priedhorsky, the shop artist who came up with the idea.
Each tattoo will cost $60, and all proceeds will go toward the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, a firefighting branch currently dealing with wildfires in the Australian state that has been hit the hardest. Twenty-eight people have died across the country since the fire season began in late July 2019, and over 2,000 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales alone, according to CNN.
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Priedhorsky says that he crowdsourced on social media to figure out what tattoo design would make the most sense for the fundraiser. "When I did that, there was an overwhelming shout of 'koala,'" he says. Australian government officials estimate that almost a third of the koalas in New South Wales may have been killed in the fires.
In addition to offering a tattoo of a koala on a branch, True Blue will also ink folks with an aboriginal rock carving of a lizard. Ben Miller of True Blue created that design; Miller was on Westword 's 2019 list of "Ten of the Best Tattoo Artists in Denver."
Russ Pearson, the owner of True Blue, encourages those interested in getting the Australia-themed tattoos to stop by the store at 305 South Kipling Street in Lakewood anytime between noon and 8 p.m. on January 16.
"All of the money goes toward helping the cause there," says Pearson. "People are also able to leave more money or just stop in and make a donation."