Chris Hemsworth pledged $1 million to help the Australian wildfires and is asking others to step up, too

The wildfires in Australia have burnt 15 million acres of land, claiming 25 lives and destroying nearly 2,500 homes. According to ecologists from the University of Sydney, half a billion mammals, birds, and reptiles have died since September. New South Wales and Victoria were declared a state of emergency, and army reserve troops have been helping with recovery efforts. It's going to take a lot of work to repair the damage that's been done, and in that vein, Chris Hemsworth and his family have donated $1 million to save his native country from the devastating wildfires. Hemsworth posted a video explaining the importance of donating to relief efforts.


"Like you, I want to support the fight against the bushfires here in Australia. My family and I are contributing a million dollars. Hopefully you guys can chip in too. Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated," Hemsworth wrote in his post on Instagram.

RELATED: Yes, arsonists started some of Australia's fires. No, it doesn't mean climate change is fake

In the video, Hemsworth warned the fires might get worse. "They continue to burn, there's warmer weather on its way, we're really still in the thick of it here, as is plenty of challenging times ahead still to come," Hemsworth said. Australia is currently experiencing its hottest and driest summer on record. The spread of the fires has been exacerbated by strong winds.

Hemsworth encouraged others to contribute to the cause, even if they don't have $1 million in spare change lying around. "Beyond appreciative to everyone around the world for their well wishes and donations. It really does make a difference, so dig deep!" he wrote on Instagram.

Hemsworth also shared links to several places where others can donate.

RELATED: Someone stole a meerkat from the Perth Zoo because he thought it would 'be cool as a pet'

Hemsworth explained what donations go to. "That money goes directly to the firefighters, the people on the front lines, the people who have suffered, the communities that have taken a hit and are in desperate need for our support," he said. Australia's firefighting force is largely volunteers, and many have had to take time off from their jobs to fight the fires.

It's fantastic that so many celebrities are raising money and awareness for the fires, but it's important to remember that you can still help out - even if you haven't stared in a Marvel movie.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

True
Microsoft Office

This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


Last Christmas, Alex got exactly what he always wanted: a new "robo" arm.

Sure, it's basically like having a second hand, but it also does something equally important: It totally reflects his personality. How? It's a "Transformers"-themed arm.

Keep Reading Show less