Pin-Ups for Vets founder Gina Elise began to hear news stories about Iraq war Veterans needing medical care and she wanted to do something creative to help. Her grandfather served in WWII and Gina had always been a fan of that era’s pin-up art. So in 2006 she decided to create a classy, 1940’s style pin-up calendar to raise money for Veterans.
After donating $5,000 in proceeds from the first calendar to a local Veteran’s hospital, she began to get inquiries about the next calendar. Gina also heard from female veterans looking to volunteer. She saw this as an opportunity to empower them and shift perspectives about what a Veteran is. In the words of one model; “There’s nothing that says I can’t be a hard charging Marine AND a lipstick wearing pin-up. So I choose to be both.” Pin-Ups for Vets just released their 17th calendar and have donated over $100,000 to purchase rehab equipment for Veterans hospitals.
In addition to shipping the calendars to troops deployed overseas, Gina and her Ambassadors embarked on a 50 state tour visiting Veteran hospitals/homes and military bases. She says it is very powerful to see the instant connection between these female Veterans and those they are visiting. In one case, after she had a conversation with a wounded soldier, the hospital staff told Gina he was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and that was the first time he had spoken in a month. To date, they have visited over 15,000 Veterans nationwide and overseas.
Listeners can help by making a direct donation or purchasing the calendar & branded merchandise through the website. Advertising opportunities within the calendar are also available. Casting notices for the calendar are posted on the website each spring.
TAKEAWAY: “I came for the service but I stayed for the sisterhood.”
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