MARTINS FERRY - Hot Rod Tattooing in Martins Ferry will be teaming up with hundreds of tattoo shops across the country next month in support of the March of Dimes.
Hot Rod will be hosting Tattooing to Save Babies all day on Saturday, Sept. 22 at its 20 S. 4th St. location.
This is Hot Rod's first year participating in the annual event, now in its fifth edition.
John Scott "Sweet Chuck" Schorr, owner and operator of Hot Rod, explained that he and his fellow artists at Hot Rod decided to get involved after talking with industry friend and renowned tattoo artist Krooked Ken of Black Anchor Tattoo in Maryland.
"Ken is the father of a 13-year-old boy, Grady," Schorr began. "Grady is his third child. His first two were both born premature and lived a very short time before passing away.
"He really became involved with the March of Dimes because they did so much for him personally. He's become an advocate over the years and decided to get the tattoo community to do something beneficial for the March of Dimes on a national level."
Schorr explained all sales from open until close on Sept. 22 will go straight to the March of Dimes.
"We're still taking appointments that day, it's a normal day for us.
We're just donating everything we make," said Schorr, noting that he, along with artists Ron Meyers and Chad Ramsay are already booked full on Sept. 22. Corey Cuc and an anticipated guest artist still have a few spots available.
"It should be a few thousand dollars."
Schorr explained he talked a few months ago with Krooked Ken about getting involved.
Hot Rod has been expanding its influence in giving back to the community the last few years, both locally and now nationally.
The community has been good to Hot Rod.
In Schorr's estimation, it's only natural for his shop to turn around and return the favor.
"We've had a good year and we're trying to give back as much as we can to the community," Schorr said.
"It wouldn't hurt to donate to a national charity as well."
Schorr's anticipating that more than 100 shops will be participating. Taking the average of $1,000 per shop you can figure that this one-day event will generate more than $100,000 for the March of Dimes.
The artists as a whole have set a goal of at least $250,000, a realistically reachable mark to hit.
But it's just not about the money for Schorr. Awareness also plays a factor.
While his own son was only born 11 days premature, that was enough for him. He has a number of friends in the tattoo community who have had experiences with premature births.
"I'm big on making people aware of things they tend to overlook," Schorr said. "There is such a lack of community involvement on a national level. Nationally, we are Americans are pitifully and embarrassingly playing the ostrich when it comes to that sort of thing.
"If it doesn't effect you personally, you don't make any attempts to do anything about it.
"But that is one of the more charming aspects of the people around here. They do step up and try to take care of the community."
Hughes may be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org