COLORADO SPRINGS — A local man is helping people get a second chance in life by removing their tattoos. It's called Project Blackout, which is an effort to give free tattoo removals to people in the Colorado Springs area.
Joseph Coram, the owner of Blackout Laser and laser specialist, came up with the idea. He removes tattoos in a room at a business called Pens and Needles, a local tattoo company.
"My focus in the community are for people who have tattoos that are maybe gang-related, hate-related, or victims of human trafficking, who are branded with tattoos," said Coram. "We also help people who have what we call 'job stoppers,' so if they have anything on their hands or below their arms that don't allow them to progress in work."
Before opening Blackout Laser, Coram knew he wanted to get involved with tattoo removal, which he did in the past couple of months. Then this month, he launched Project Blackout and already has his first client for the project.
Rachel Franzese has five tattoos on her hands, which she got when she was 18 years old. She says over the past year, she's formed a new career goal, and now has her sight set on joining the air force or national guard.
"I definitely cannot get the job that I want with these (tattoos) on my hands," said Franzese, "which I was completely unaware of. I'd never thought I'd be having a job that requires no hand tattoos. But with certain things you want to do in life, you have to sacrifice, so I'm willing to get rid of these in order to pursue what I'm trying to do."
Meanwhile, Coram told News5 the project is his way of giving back to the community as an Air Force veteran.
"My favorite core value was service before self, and this is just me carrying that through in the things I'm doing after the military."
While Coram understands tattoo removal can be expensive and time-consuming, he's happy to help remove some of that weight from somebody's shoulders and help close unwanted chapters in their lives.
"Depending on the ink, how old the ink is, where the tattoo is located, you're looking at anywhere from three to ten sessions," said Coram.
"When you want a tattoo removed, it's usually because you're trying to close a chapter in your life," said Coram. "I get to help you shut this door that you would otherwise carry around with you, and it's removing that weight from somebody that I love facilitating."
"I think it's so amazing. It can literally change somebody's life," said Franzese. "It's a commitment, it takes time and money, and sometimes people don't have either of those things, so it's just really awesome to see."
For more information about the project, click here. You can also call Blackout Laser at 719-301-6166.