hollywood military expert donating to ukraine
Jon Barton via Instagram

Being a hero doesn't stop once you're out of the military.

Jon Barton has made a name for himself in Hollywood, but it’s not just for his military expertise. Lots of film and TV sets will hire a consultant to discuss uniforms and weapons in a way that feels more authentic. But that extra bit of magic Barton brings—the special sauce that keeps him working with A-listers like Tom Cruise and Chris Hemsworth—is his compassion.

“I would take the actor and I would put him into a world of his/her military backstory. And I would say, ‘I’m going to teach you what it means to be a marine. Not just how we shoot a gun," he told Upworthy. "I’m going to teach you all the history, the ethos, what it means when we say Semper Fi.’”

That drive for integrity naturally compels Barton to fight for what’s right. After the notorious shooting accident on the set of "Rust," when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally wounded, Barton addressed the need for better gun safety measures on social media. Namely, he urged the need to hire actual experts, not just armorers.

“For me, it’s personal. I am passionate about keeping people safe. You can’t even come close to an accident,” he said.

Barton continues to put his empathy into action, most recently by donating nearly $1 million worth of tactical supplies to the volunteer soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

The idea came to him, as so many do nowadays, via Instagram.


A friend reached out to Barton asking if he had any medical supplies to donate. Unfortunately, the answer was no, but that led to something even better. The doctor leading the donation asked Barton if instead he had camouflage uniforms or knee pads.

As the owner of Night-Fire Media, a military rental company with a warehouse absolutely full of tactical gear, it “just clicked.”

“I’ve got a whole warehouse of camouflage, uniforms and kneepads, like it made so much sense that I could donate,” he said, adding that uniforms and weapons tend to change colors every couple of years, becoming outdated—and easily usable—quite quickly. But they would be perfect for the volunteer soldiers who have nothing to fight in but civilian clothes.

“I said, ‘how many do you need? I think I can fill your whole plane.'”

Though no actual weapons have been sent (Barton might be generous, but he’s not looking to break the law), hundreds of boxes have been sent containing equally important gear: uniforms, LBEs (load bearing equipment), rifle slings and all kinds of accessories for use in cold weather, including waterproof boots and flame-retardant combat gloves. And though the armor pieces were taken out (again, not trying to get arrested), around 300 military-grade Kevlar vests were also donated.

Barton has given around 80% of his entire inventory, and plans to keep the mission going.

After news of his efforts begun making headlines, Barton opened up his mailing address for others to send items. Both civilians and vets across the country have been inspired to donate things like emergency blankets, sleeping bags and fire-starting kits. One small act of kindness has now taken on new life.

Barton’s sense of purpose comes from simple human empathy.

“As Americans, we should fight oppression and evil wherever it rears its ugly head in the world, if we’re able. I am blown away by the Ukrainian people’s tenacity and their philosophy as war fighters. Above everything else, I think we need to commend that. You know, we're a country that started and we gained our independence by fighting for our freedom. We didn’t do it alone. So I want the Ukrainians to know they’re not alone. We believe in their fight.”

In times of war, heroes emerge in many places, not just on the frontlines. Whether that’s giving time, money or supplies, each time we choose generosity, humanity wins.

If you would like to send any items to Barton, you can mail to:

10866 Washington Blvd. #502, Culver City, CA, 90233

Or, you can send something via Amazon using this wishlist.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less

Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less