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In 2010, 8-year U.S. Navy Veteran and entrepreneur Michael Hyacinthe was connected to artist and designer Tyler Way through a shared mutual connection. When the two met over coffee, their shared interests quickly evolved into discussions based around the realization of a large void between the military and creative worlds. 

Not long after at a local veterans event, Hyacinthe met a severely-wounded U.S. Marine along with his full-time nurse by his side. Paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak, the 20-something year old Marine shared his story through a specialty alphanumeric communication code that had to be translated by his nurse. Hyacinthe soon learned of his passion for t-shirts, and asked the Marine if he would like to design his own shirt. Seeing the larger-than-life grin immediately come across the Marine’s face, Hyacinthe called Way and asked if he’d be willing to co-design a t-shirt with the help of this inspiring young wounded veteran.

Immediately, the power of that unique collaboration sparked the desire to work with more veterans through what would develop into the HERO[series], an annual design project that pairs a veteran with an artist partner with the shared mission to tell that veteran's story. 

 

 


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