Badges of Honor: Tattoo project helps veterans open up about trauma


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Tattoos are not only for looks; they can also help people find a way to work through trauma.

Visual information specialist Candace Woods says, “I’ve been through stuff but I’ve also conquered through it too.”

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Woods is the photographer for Badges of Honor, a project at the Lexington VA helping de-stigmatize tattoos and mental health for veterans.

Woods is an Iraqi veteran. She served in the army for about six years and says it’s really great she can work with fellow veterans through this project and see them open up about their experiences.

“It’s really awesome to be able to work with other veterans that have tattoos and that have gone through certain traumas or certain mental health issues. It kind of helps build a story of who they are and it really shows that we’re all human,” Woods says.

She says when veterans come in for their photo they will explain their tattoos and why they have them.

Some dedicate theirs to fellow soldiers and others dedicate them to their own personal experience.

The photos will be displayed in black and white all throughout the VA Mental Health Center.