Retired sailor hoping to leave his mark

A donation to a local charity could lead to a new tattoo from a true ink master.

Tickets to win a three-hour tattoo from Austin Rose, who competed on the TV shows “Ink Master” and “Ink Master: Angels,” will come with each $10 donation made to Disabled American Veterans through participating businesses.

The Portland-based tattoo artist will be available at a meet-and-greet at Wicked Teuton Brewing Company in Oak Harbor from 6-10 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18.

The event and fundraiser are the brainchild of Nick Ricci, an Oak Harbor resident who just happens to be close friends with Rose.

At age 18, Ricci moved from California to Portland, and Rose was the first person he met there. Rose offered Ricci a place to stay, helped him get a job and “we’ve been like family ever since,” Ricci said.

And 20 years later, Rose is willing to make the trek to Oak Harbor to help his old friend. He’s also enthusiastic about the cause Ricci has chosen.

“It’s an honor to do anything I can to be able to give back to the men and women who give everything for our country,” Rose said in an email.

Ricci worked with James Hart of Guild Mortgage to create an event to help the DAV, located at the back of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7392 on Goldie Road. Both men are Navy veterans, and Ricci medically retired in May 2018.

He’s benefited from the DAV’s volunteer services in case management.

“I’m able to go to them when I have issues with my pay or if I have questions about what’s available to me,” Ricci said.

Muggs Monahan, commander of the local DAV chapter, said he enthusiastically agreed to anything that would increase awareness about the organization and potentially bring in money.

The all-volunteer group is working to save up for a new van, which it uses to bring veterans to appointments at the VA medical center in Seattle.

A lack of volunteers has reduced the number of veterans the group can serve.

At its highest, the organization transported around 40 people a week to their appointments and now that number is down to eight.

“We’re still getting lots of phone calls,” Monahan said.

There will be information about the DAV at the meet-and-greet at Wicked Teuton. Ricci wanted his first stab at a charity event to also support local businesses. He used to work with the brewing company owner, Terry Boese, who also happens to be a Navy veteran and is pretty passionate about ink.

“I was excited as soon as Nick told me about it,” Boese said. “I love tattoos. I don’t have enough tattoos.”

William Lloyd, an owner of Nite Owl Tattoo in Oak Harbor, is donating space for Rose to use when he gives the winner a new piece of body art.

Ricci said he wanted to use the event to showcase some businesses in town that people might not be aware of or know much about.

“Everybody’s lives are improved if our businesses thrive,” he said.

Donation boxes will be located at the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Guild Mortgage and Wicked Teuton Brewing Company, which is located at the back of Whidbey Home Brew Supply. Monahan will come every week to pick up the donations.

If the event is successful, Ricci hopes to do something similar every year.

Hart pointed out that even though he, Ricci and Monahan served during different times, they all have a common goal.

“Our older brothers and sisters need some help,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to handing over a ridiculously big check,” Ricci added.

n Chances to win can be earned by making donations at Wicked Teuton Brewing, the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Guild Mortgage

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