We all heard the story last week of Carl Drewett. The young man with links to a white supremacist group got the most hideous tattoo on his forehead whilst in prison a few years ago. He's now out, anxious to mend his ways and start a new life, but unable to afford treatment to remove the tattoo. But help has arrived; the Herald reports:
Radio DJ Simon Barnett has come to the aid of a former skinhead wanting to start a new crime free life.
Barnett will pay $2000 out of his own pocket to help fund the removal of Carl Drewett's distinctive tattoo from his forehead.
The money will go towards the $2500 quote to remove the tattoo.
Barnett said the donation was a "hand-up" rather than a "handout".
"I did it because I think he's a genuine person," he said.
Drewett, 28, was trying to raise money to remove his "Skinhead" tattoo so he could start a new life.
His former probation officer had looked into various options, including applying for money through government agencies, to assist Drewett in collecting money for the laser tattoo removal.
Drewett said he regretted getting the tattoo when he was in prison at 23.
Barnett's donation is a kind one indeed, for which he should be commended. He outlines the reasons behind it; read on:
Barnett said he admired Drewett's courage and humility to take ownership of his mistakes and ask for help.
He felt the only way Drewett could move forward and change his life was to have the "ghastly" tattoo removed and he wanted to be able to help.
"He'll never get ahead with that on his face. That tattoo is going to prevent him getting a job."
Barnett said Drewett's tattoo had created a lot of on air debate.
"When I talked about it on air it really bugged a lot of people who didn't think he should be helped.
"People were saying he's got himself into this mess he's got to get himself out of it but sometimes how do you get yourself out of a situation if you don't have a hand-up," Barnett said.
"It annoys me that people cast these people aside. Nobody is prepared to give them a chance.
"We all make mistakes. My feeling is that this guy is really trying, from what I can gather, to get his life sorted out.
"He doesn't subscribe to the belief system he had when he got the tattoo done.
"He's tried to disassociate himself from his former crowd.
"I feel he is genuine. We've got to trust he's as good as his word. Then the responsibility really is his.
"At least I'll go to sleep easier at night knowing I've played my little part."
Carl Drewett is 28 years old, and he's at a turning point of his life. He has a clear choice; to try and move forward, putting the past behind him, and repaying the faith that Simon Barnett and others have placed in him. Or he can drift back into his former life, and likely as not he'll end up back in prison. Barnett has given him a hand up, and Drewett's job prospects will be enhanced by having the tattoo removed. Cleaning up his forehead however is only a small part of cleaning up his life, and he is sure to face challenges.
We wish Carl Drewett well. New Zealand will be a better place if he is sincere in his desire to live a changed life, and become a productive member of the community. The best way that he can repay Simon Barnett's act of generosity is to make good on his promises.