Tyler, Kendra, and their cat Noel left their careers in the fashion industry as a footwear designer and a women’s retail buyer in order to expand the reach and impact of [HAS HEART] and its HERO[series] collaborative design process.

Since July 2017, they’ve been traveling state-to-state to partner a Veteran with a graphic designer in all fifty states. View the entire “50 States: Veterans + Artist United” project overview page and follow their progress on Instagram.

STATE 15: Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
VETERAN: Darrel Charles, U.S. Navy
ARTIST: Brittany Ballinger
SPONSOR: Available


Inspired by the Haitian flag and its message of strength in unity, the Kintsugi art of repairing broken pottery with gold, and the intent of dazzle camouflage to stand out rather than blend in, U.S. Navy Veteran Darrel Charles and graphic designer Brittany Ballinger collaborated to create the design “L’Union.” Proud of his Haitian heritage, Darrel shared with Brittany the motto from the country’s coat of arms: “L’union fait la force,” meaning, “unity makes strength.”

While serving on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), he appreciated the teamwork aboard yet longed for a way to creatively express himself. Years after returning home, Darrel overcame homelessness with the help of the Florida organization “Operation Sacred Trust.” Now in school for sound engineering, Darrel hopes to use the mediums of video, music, and massage therapy to provide a means of healing and support for others.

Ultimately, Darrel and Brittany added a touch of gold to the design to highlight the beauty in brokenness just as the Japanese art of Kintsugi does, hoping to translate the inner peace found through acceptance and healing.