Students anti-landmine video gets more than 900,000 hits
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | September 03,2013
Ryder Hathawy, of Dorset, was in Vietnam in July where he filmed a pile of live, abandoned ordnance for a fundraising video to support Clear Path International. The video featured actor Jonathan Goldsmith, who plays “The Most Interesting Man in the World” in Dos Equis beer commercials and who is also a member and supporter of Clear Path.
DORSET — Burr and Burton Academy student Ryder Hathaway spent part of his summer vacation in Vietnam working with victims of landmines and unexploded ordnance. He returned with a video about the experience that has gotten more than 900,000 hits on YouTube.
Hathaway, a 16-year-old from Dorset, was in Vietnam from June 10 to Aug. 5 to work with Clear Path International, a nonprofit co-founded by his parents, James Hathaway and James’ ex-wife, Martha Hathaway.
The video features actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, who plays a character called the “most interesting man in the world” for Dos Equis beer. In the video Goldsmith and representatives of Mines Advisory Group, a nonprofit that removes unexploded ordnance, detonate some of the explosives found in Vietnam.
Goldsmith points out that what was detonated in the video is only what was found in a single week despite the fact that the United States ceased military operations in Vietnam more than 40 years ago.
On Friday, Hathaway called it the “most eventful and successful summer I’ve ever had.” In Vietnam, Hathaway worked with the people who receive medical or financial support from Clear Path.
Among those he met was a 9-year-old boy whose face was badly scarred after he found the trigger of a white phosphorus grenade about a week before Hathaway arrived.
“It really gave context to what I was doing there. ... It was an awful thing to witness in person,” he said.
Hathaway said he was able to teach the boy how to use a camera and form a bond with him.
“It really puts a face to the problem. It makes you remember that these are people also who have been hurt. ... It’s not just words on a page when you read about it in Vermont. It’s something that’s actually happening to real people and there’s something we need to do about it,” he said.
The video is a plea to support Clear Path in its efforts to raise $50,000. It shows Goldsmith not only exploding the ordnance but also meeting Vietnamese people who have lost limbs because of land mines or other explosives.
Hathaway filmed the video and took all of the still photographs used in the video. He edited it with his father in about a day.
Between the time the video was posted to YouTube on Aug. 1 and Monday, it has gotten almost 911,000 hits and about 4,300 “likes.” The video got a boost by appearing in places like “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” CNBC and New England Cable News.
“It was a huge success. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” Hathaway said.
James Hathaway said he couldn’t be more proud of and grateful to his son for the video.
“It takes a lot of guts to stand over a pile of decades-old, live explosives and not only keep your cool, but create a work of art at the same time. He did both and informed people all around the world about the continuing, deadly threat that unexploded ordnance pose to the people in Southeast Asia,” he said.
While Hathaway was in Vietnam to do serious work, he is also a teenager who spent some of his time teaching other young people how to ride a skateboard.
“There’s something about making an impression, even on just one person’s life. It makes me feel happy that I was able to do something like that. Even if I’m able to make a difference with one person, I think that’s a success for the whole trip,” he said.
The video can be found on YouTube by doing a search for “Ryder Hathaway.” There is a link on the video for those who wish to donate to Clear Path.