DECATUR — So many people lined up outside Oakwood Tattoo on Friday, even before the shop opened, that they were given numbers.
“I had 40 people signed up 30 minutes in,” said Holly Harrison, a tattoo artist who was helping check people in.
Oakwood Tattoo hosted its second Tats for the Towers on Friday, when artists offered patriotic tattoos and donated all proceeds to the 9/11 Memorial planned for Nelson Park. The fundraising goal is $240,000.
“We have $18,000 left to raise between now and July 1 to present to the Decatur Park District to get authorization to start building,” said Lauren Axe, CPA and controller for Mueller Distributing, which has been a driving force in the effort.
The memorial will feature an I-beam from the World Trade Center Twin Towers, also obtained through the efforts of Axe and Eric Mueller. The beam has been shown at events throughout the Decatur area since its arrival from New York City. A melted filing cabinet, almost unrecognizable, is part of the beam.
The design of the memorial is two columns, to evoke the Twin Towers, and will include a piece of the plane from Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, while the five-sided base is in memory of the attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Oakwood Tattoo raised $4,000 with last year's event, and Harrison said the hope is to beat that this year. Artists have donated their time and the shop devoted the entire day's business to Tats for the Towers.
Chad Lawson of Decatur was at last year's event and came this year, as well. He intended to have his new tattoo on his right arm, where last year's patriotic tattoo and one of Felix the Cat, obtained during a Toys for Tats event at the shop, already are. His right arm, he said, is reserved for charitable tattoos.
“These are some good folks,” Lawson said. “The artists are only getting paid if somebody tips them. All the money's going to the memorial fund.”
To speed up the process, patrons chose from a selection of patriotic tattoos in the American Traditional or Old School style. Styles ranged from an eagle's head, to the word “'Murica,” to designs featuring flags. The cost for a small tattoo was $34.30, to remember the 343 firefighters who died, and the large tattoos were $91.10, in memory of the date 9/11.
Lance and Jennifer Whitney both chose the same tattoo, a woman's head, though both laughingly admitted they didn't see the design as particularly patriotic.
Wearing a patriotic T-shirt, Kevin Paulding sat on a bench in the waiting area, prepared to be there for a while.
“They told me I should probably go get a drink,” he said with a grin, holding up a soda pop.
Brittany Harding said she was dedicating her new tattoo to her two brothers who are firefighters: one in the Hickory Point district, the other in Maroa. She planned to have this year's patriotic tattoo placed on her left arm below the one she got at last year's Tats for the Towers event.
The 9/11 Memorial is planned for a location near the Beach House restaurant in Nelson Park, with a five-sided base that will include an outline of granite pavers, another of the committee's fundraising efforts.
Pavers cost $140 for bricks, corners for $260, and benches $1,800. A model of the memorial is in the Decatur Civic Center lobby and the finished memorial will be dedicated on Sept. 11.