12 Female Veterans Pose For Pin-Up Calendar To Raise Money For Hospitalized Military Heroes

There has been plenty of discussion over Donald Trump’s contributions to various veterans organizations and causes, and whether he actually cares about them for realz. For us, we couldn’t give two hoots about him, because there are many other people across the US who are walking the talk and doing important work for veterans every day. One of those incredible people is Gina Elise, the founder of the Pin-Ups for Vets calendar, which has just released its 2018 edition.

Gina started her non-profit organization in 2006, which was also the year the first calendar was released and describes the reasoning behind this project on the Pin-Ups website.

“In 2006, I started seeing news articles about under-funded Veterans’ healthcare programs. Then, there were stories about older Veterans who lay in bed day after day, never receiving any visitors.  Reports started surfacing on TV about the severe injuries sustained by our troops fighting in Iraq. The more I heard about the uphill battles of our Wounded Warriors, the more convinced I was of the need to produce a project that would bring in funds to support all of our hospitalized Veterans. My late Grandpa Lou served in the Army for 4 years during World War II.  I wanted to do something to honor his name,” she wrote.

Gina Elise | Pin-Ups For Vets calendar 2018

Inspired by the WWII pin-up girl aesthetics and the fashion of the 1940s, Gina decided to recreate this imagery for a calendar as a way to boost morale for soldiers fighting overseas. The calendar has 3 specific purposes – to raise funds for hospitalized veterans, to be given as gifts to injured vets as a way to say “thank you” for their service, and to be sent to deployed troops to let them know Americans back home are thinking of them.

Since launching 12 years ago, the calendar has not only impacted those who receive it, but also the female veterans involved.

Tess Rutherford | Pin-Ups For Vets calendar 2018

“Many of the female Veterans who volunteer with us claim that utilizing the aesthetic of the WWII pin-up has helped them to reclaim their femininity post service,” Gina told us in an email.

The veterans involved not only get to be part of the calendar, but also part of a 50-state VA and Military hospital tour where they get to engage directly with injured vets. Since beginning the project, the non-profit has visited 11,000 Veterans at VA Hospitals, Military Hospitals and State Veterans Homes, and Pin-Ups has donated over $56,000 to help VA & Military hospitals purchase new rehabilitation equipment.

Michelle Rivera | Pin-Ups For Vets calendar 2018

The organization has also received Congressional Recognition for our service to the Veteran community. In an interview with We Are The Mighty, Gina says there is no shortage of women who want to be involved in the calendar, now that they are well-established in the veteran community.

“We received so many incredible submissions from female Veterans all over the U.S. It is always so hard to select our calendar models, but there are only 12 months in a calendar, so we have to narrow it down. We are featuring an outstanding group of female Veterans in our 2018 edition, from a gunner’s mate to a surgery technician to a range coach. These ladies come from each of the five branches,” she said.

Megan Martine | Pin-Ups For Vets calendar 2018

The women Gina recruited shared their thoughts on being part of the calendar, as well as their experience being female in a very male-dominated world. Recent figures show women make up only 15% of active service members across all branches of military.

“I have followed Gina’s amazing work for over 10 years and have always dreamed of being a part of this amazing group and project!” said Megan Martine, USMC.

Daphne Bye | Pin-Ups For Vets calendar 2018

“My job was logistics. I was your civilian version of FedEx or ups, I made sure gear and classified equipment was delivered to its final destination. My most memorable time was becoming a range coach and being able to teach other Marines how to properly and successfully use their weapons and the fact that I was the only female there was even better for me not only because we are so few in the corps but because most would be shocked to see me there as a coach,” said Daphne Bye, USMC.

“I wanted to be a part of the calendar because it’s important for me to find ways to give back to other vets, especially those that went before me. I’m a proud 3rd generation Army Veteran. I love what Pin-Ups for Vets does particularly for hospitalized vets, beyond raising money for medical equipment or services, PUFV lifts these vets’ spirits and there’s no dollar amount that can buy that! I also love that female veterans are part of the calendar, giving us an opportunity to show people another side of women veterans. We’re often either left out of the veteran conversation or viewed negatively, so I love that people get to see another (positive) side of us,” said Michelle Rivera, Army.

Brendena Kyles | Pin-Ups For Vets calendar 2018

“In the Air Force I enlisted with a guaranteed job in the medical field. I was trained as an 4N1- Surgery technician. I worked side by side with Air Force surgeons healing the bodies of all those who laid on our operating room table. The most interesting and memorable moment in my military career came during my 2009 deployment to Afghanistan. I was stationed with the Army on a small FOB on the boarder of Pakistan. The adrenaline rush can never be replicated dripping from the extreme daily surgeries we performed. Young American soldiers, women, children and local men died terrible deaths. I learned the value of freedom as a woman, gained appreciation to be an American, and altered my perspective on life dealing with hearts and minds,” said Sheena Lee Christy, USAF.

“I wanted to be a part of the 2018 Pin-Ups for Vets calendar because I believe wholeheartedly in the mission of the organization. Gina ensures that none of the veterans we visit feel forgotten or alone. Every veteran deserves to know their sacrifice and service is appreciated and Pin-Ups for Vets makes that happen,” said Jennifer Marshall, Navy.

Allison Paganetti | Pin-Ups For Vets calendar 2018

We love that Gina and the Pin-Ups for Vets Calendar is shining a light on the important work veterans are doing, as well as giving visibility to women in the military who have put their lives on the front lines and broken gender barriers along the way.

If you want to be part of this awesome cause, you can purchase a calendar by clicking here. Hear more from Gina Elise and a few of the veterans featured in the calendar who made an appearance on HLN recently to promote the organization’s work.




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