Pin-Ups for Vets is a non-profit organization that raises money to help deployed and hospitalized service members, veterans, and military families. When founder Gina Elise learned about injured troops coming home from deployments early in the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, she decided to do something about it and created her first pin-up calendar — 18 years later, she’s managed to continue her annual tradition of fundraising for the troops.
The 2024 Pin-Ups for Vets calendar features 13 outstanding female veterans from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. From an Air Force physicist working on offensive and defensive counter-space missions with the Space Superiority Directorate to a Marine who drove logistics convoys while deployed in Iraq, these women prove that there’s more to veterans than meets the eye.
Inspired by the iconic pin-up art on aircraft that boosted troop morale during World War II, Elise spends months producing her annual calendars in order to create high-quality art that celebrates the veterans within the calendar pages. More than that, the photoshoots are often an opportunity for women to celebrate their femininity, something that is sacrificed during military service.
“While in the service, I suppressed my femininity,” confessed 21-year Coast Guard veteran Shea Roberts. “I felt that I did not want to be looked at differently than my male counterparts. By doing this, I believe I lost some of my identity, which negatively affected me. Being part of the 2024 calendar has helped me with regaining my self-confidence and rebuilding my self-esteem.”
Not only that, but Elise has also built a community of volunteers — men and women, veterans and “patriotic civilians,” as she calls them — who can confide in one another, depend on each other, and give back to others, a core value in military service members.
To date, the organization has donated over $100,000 to help purchase new rehabilitation equipment for VA and military hospitals nationwide. Pin-Ups for Vets volunteer Ambassadors have also visited over 16,000 ill and injured veterans on their 50-state hospital tour to deliver gifts of appreciation and help boost morale.
“I think the calendar is the perfect blend of beauty and strength and showcases that those two are not mutually exclusive,” shared Marine Corps veteran and 2024 model Stephanie Larson. “As a long-time fan of the organization, I have to say how honored I am to be included with this amazing, inspirational group of women. It is ultimately a continuation of service that I am grateful to be a part of.”
The 2024 calendar can be purchased for yourself or donated to a deployed or hospitalized service member at www.PinUpsForVets.com or by check to: Pin-Ups for Vets, PO Box 33, Claremont, CA 91711
Featured Image: U.S. Navy Veteran Gayle Gaumer during her military service (left) and in the 2024 Pin-Ups for Vets calendar (right).