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Video: Millions watch makeover of homeless Grand Rapids vet

November 11, 2013
| By AP |
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Video: Millions watch makeover of homeless Grand Rapids vet
Jim Wolf, a homeless veteran in Grand Rapids, sits for a makeover by stylist Anna Walt. Photo via youtube.com

A short video that asks people to donate to a downtown nonprofit — after watching the makeover of a homeless Grand Rapids veteran — has been viewed 10.4 million times, as of Monday morning.

The time-lapse video on YouTube features Jim Wolf of Grand Rapids. The nearly three-minute video was produced by community event organizer Rob Bliss, with support from Grand Rapids-based Degage Ministries, a nonprofit that helps the homeless and disadvantaged.

With Veterans Day today, the video encourages people to donate to Degage Ministries "to help other homeless veterans."

Stylist Anna Walt cuts, styles and colors Wolf's hair and trims his beard, as he occasionally winces and closes his eyes.

After putting on a new suit, shirt and tie, Wolf, a U.S. Army veteran, looks in a mirror and is momentarily taken aback as he utters, "Wow." He steps down, hugs someone and appears to say, "Thank you."

The video published Wednesday says Wolf volunteered for the "transformation."

He's scheduled to have his own housing and attending counseling for alcoholism. 

Response

One commenter writes that viewers should watch "only his eyes," which look as though he's going "from lost to proud" during the makeover.

Another person criticizes the video, arguing it implies that "all he needed to get back on his feet was a haircut and a suit."

The video has about 48,000 likes and 1,400 dislikes, as of Monday morning.

Rob Bliss Creative

Stylist walt said she first heard a few years ago that Bliss, known for staging massive participatory events such as the citywide lip dub of Don McLean's "American Pie" and Zombie Walks, wanted to offer homeless people free makeovers.

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