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She laughs at the fact that her husband creates tattoos and she oversees Lilke, who removes them. “We saw the demand [for tattoo removal] grow over the last couple of years,” Heffron said, adding that the studio was lucky to find Lilke.
Lilke completed a 9-month certification training program in Scottsdale in 2009, where she learned 10 cosmetic laser treatments. She now splits her time between Beloved and a medical spa, but shares Heffron’s personal joy in this effort.
“I’m really excited for Jeremy to start new,” Lilke said, “to get things off his body that represented a time he doesn’t want to be reminded of anymore, to literally erase that part of his life.”
Beloved is donating most of the cost to remove Crotteau’s tattoos, which will require several more visits, spaced out over many months.
Crotteau said that when he heard about Beloved, “I was all over it.” Still, Lilke prepared him for the fact that his tattoos would take on a darker look, as the ink rises to the surface, before beginning to fade.
The good news is that his tattoos weren’t professionally done, which makes them easier to remove.
“In Jeremy’s case, because they were homemade, it won’t take that long,” Lilke said.
But, still, ouch.
“When she went for my knuckles,” he said of Lilke, “I wanted to scream.”
But he scheduled his next appointment for February. He’ll take the bus from Bloomington, where he and his son live in the basement of a duplex.
He’s completing his GED, the equivalent of a high school diploma. He hopes, with the tattoos fading and Ban the Box in place, he can finally find a job in a warehouse or in food service. He has his forklift license, too, noting that he scored 100 percent on his test.
Eventually, Crotteau wants to build a career, maybe in art. He’s a watercolorist.
“It does get easier,” Lilke assured him. She was referring to tattoo removal, but who could blame Crotteau for reading into her kindness another meaning?
“I’m a nice guy,” the soft-spoken Crotteau said with a smile. “Hardworking. I’m just hoping to get my foot in the door.”
Follow Gail on Twitter: @grosenblum