Stuck Tattoo Gallery went above and beyond in one of its local fundraisers, raising and donating about $800 to the Norwalk Fire Department for its Operation Warm program. The check was presented to the station Wednesday.
The tattoo shop, located at 48-A Benedict Ave., said giving back is a big part of the business’s foundation and something it intends to keep up.
“It’s always good to do stuff for the community and I’ve always wanted to help people,” said owner and tattoo artist Dustin Rochowiak. “Now I feel like I’m actually in a position to be able to help people. I have the resources to do so and I usually do one to two things a year where I’m helping someone with something. This just kind of played out perfectly for us this year.”
Rochowiak and co-worker Amber Joy Kuhn raised the funds not knowing what exactly they would donate it to. The fundraiser, a tattoo giveaway which required those interested to share the promotion on social media and donate $5 to the cause, raised just under the $800 mark and the business chipped in the rest, giving it a nice, round donation. Then the answer came for who they would donate to.
“We said we were going to donate all the money to a kids charity of some kind, then we heard about these guys and what they were doing and we thought, ‘Hey, we’ll give it to them and they’ll use the money to buy coats for kids for the winter. That’s great.’”
Kuhn said it was a cause near to her heart since she’s the mother of 3-year-old triplets.
“If I was without a coat, having a big family and whatnot, that would be something that I would want, besides toys and all that other stuff,” she said. “This would really help a lot. This is what I would want as a parent in that position. I think it’s definitely a benefit and I hope that it encourages other businesses to do the same and create that domino effect in the community.”
The kind act impressed firefighter Logan Schullick, who added the donation meant a lot to the department and the children it would eventually benefit.
“I think it’s pretty awesome that they’ve only been here a year and they’re already raising money and giving back to the community,” he said. “I think that’s great.”
Lt. Charles Hillman, who started the local Operation Warm project, said the large sum would help many kids, even though this year’s jackets already were passed out.
“Every year we’re looking for donation for Operation Warm,” Hillman said. “It provides new coats for kids, not used ones. We believe in that because it helps their self esteem. It’s not just going to Goodwill and getting someone else’s hand-me-downs.
“This helps to sustain the program going forward. With this, we’ll have almost $3,000 in the account. We build it up so that it will be sustainable for years to come. That was my goal three years ago when we started the program to have this go for quite a long time.”
The program helped about 20 children to receive their own new coat this year.