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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 cinematographerHalyna 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that I could donate,” he said, adding that uniforms and weapons tend to change colors every couple of years, becoming outdated—and easily usable—quite quickly.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.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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