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Matthew McConaughey’s generous gesture to help Aussies

Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey has lent his voice to honouring some of the local legends who worked to keep the rest of us healthy and safe during last year’s bushfires.McConaughey recently reached out to three families who inspired him.“Australians have a very quick reaction to tough situations and crises that (says), ‘All right, mate, what…

Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey has lent his voice to honouring some of the local legends who worked to keep the rest of us healthy and safe during last year’s bushfires.

McConaughey recently reached out to three families who inspired him.

“Australians have a very quick reaction to tough situations and crises that (says), ‘All right, mate, what are we gonna do? Let’s take action,’” McConaughey said via a video call from his California home.

“There are certain people where it’s in their DNA – like Australians and like Texans, where I’m from – to go, ‘I’m not going to play the victim here, I’m not going to be victimised’.

“Yes, this is tragic, but I’m going to pull my boots up, I’m going to pull my bootstraps up and think, ‘OK, what am I going to do about this?’”

In his role as creative director for bourbon maker Wild Turkey, the Oscar winner visited Australia a year ago. At the time launching the Wild Turkey With Thanks platform, an initiative designed to protect and preserve the wilderness, McConaughey was on hand to witness the start of the catastrophic bushfires that swept across the Australian summer.

“So we were in Australia last year before COVID, before bushfires, before the droughts and the floods, we were sort of helping to urge people to go, ‘Hey, go explore your outdoors, go explore the wilderness around you’,” McConaughey said.

“And then this year, the bushfires come, the floods come, COVID comes and we said, well, let’s shine a light on some people and let’s say thank you to some people in Australia that really hunkered down and had the conviction to keep their places safe and to stay on the front lines to save (others), whether it was 600 koalas or (holding) down a pub in Batlow. So that’s what we’re doing, we’re reaching out to say thank you.”

McConaughey was particularly inspired by:

• Dana and Sam Mitchell, who rescued over 600 koalas on Kangaroo Island in South Australia;

• Linda and Matthew Rudd, who saved their 100-year-old pub from the bushfires while being the lifeline for the town of Batlow in New South Wales;

• Lin Baird, who navigated a difficult year to once again help Australians reconnect with the wilderness on horseback in Victoria’s Mount Bogong.

“We did surprise them, we called them out of the blue, so all of a sudden, Dana and Sam answer, and I was like, ‘Yep, it’s Matthew McConaughey here on Kangaroo Island with you,’” McConaughey said.

McConaughey and Wild Turkey are donating proceeds from all bottles sold during November and December to National Parks and Wildlife.

“Now, the challenge is how can we get people to go visit those places, to visit the many places we didn’t even get to shine a light on.

“Go there, even your tourism helps them out, just keep them alive and help them regenerate after the bushfires.”

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