MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A man in the Poconos who nearly died for his country still suffers with the mental and physical scars of war. Now he’s giving back to other wounded veterans in a way you may not expect.
In 2003, Daniel Wright Jr. joined the US Marine Corps fresh out of high school. A few months into his service, the Staff Sergeant was told…
“‘Hey pack your bags, we’re going to Iraq.’ like, oh gosh. Scared to death, 18 year old kid,” Wright remembers.
Wright did two tours in Iraq, where he was injured then medically discharged.
Several surgeries later, Wright joined the US Army and served two more tours in Afghanistan. He was hit by an IED bomb and woke up in the hospital with a Purple Heart.
“I looked at it and gosh, tears just start falling,” says Wright.
The man who spent his entire adulthood serving his country became medically retired. He still suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
Wright says he needed a way to support his family and channel his war experiences. He put his love for art and tattoos together and opened his very own shop.
At Spacedout Inkz in Middle Smithfield Township, Wright gives back to other wounded veterans by tattooing them for free. He says the adrenalin rush is similar to war.
“I think that’s very nice. Because a lot of people here are veterans and kind of can get scared away. So I think that’s great he’s supporting someone like that,” says tattoo customer Holly Weeks.
Wright explains, “because I know what it feels like to be left out, to lose that brotherhood, that comradery. And while they’re here I’m going to talk to them because I’ve been in there situation.”
Wright says about 40 wounded veterans visit his shop each month. Some come for a free tattoo, while others just to talk and share support.