Pin-Ups For Vets is releasing its annual calendar in an effort to raise money to support hospitalized veterans and deployed personnel.
This year’s edition, which features 12 women — veterans representing all five branches of the military decked out in 1940s vogue — marks the 16th year the company has released a calendar designed to raise morale while shattering stereotypes about women in the armed services.
The organization’s founder Gina Elise called this year’s initiative a great way to help “female veterans embrace their femininity again.”
“Many of the ladies have said that being involved with our organization has given them a renewed sense of purpose after transitioning out of the military,” Elise said. “It has given them a community again, and a mission to give back.”
Past issues have included veterans from all walks of life, including Kirstie Ennis, a wounded Marine veteran who received the 2019 Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2019 ESPYS.
One participant in the 2022 iteration, meanwhile, is Vanessa Dance, a former Army physician and Iraq veteran, who noted the importance of being around a successful group of thriving contemporaries, calling the experience “so satisfying.”
“These gorgeous women are mothers, wives, attorneys, cyber security experts, actors and physicians, to name a few,” Dance said. “They are using the skills they learned in the military to make this a better world. I look forward to being a Pin-Ups For Vets ambassador and bringing a smile to our hospitalized veterans.”
Rachelle LaFleur Yeingst, a Marine veteran of Afghanistan, also praised the opportunity to show a different side of herself than her peers in uniform were accustomed to.
“My admiration of this organization stems from the concept that the female veterans are always portrayed as powerful and classy,” Yeingst said. “[It] has helped me personally gain a level of confidence I have never experienced before.”
During a normal year, Pin-Ups For Vets would be in the middle of a 50-state VA hospital tour, but due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, plans had to be amended. To compensate, the organization is distributing care packages to hospitalized veterans and deployed troops around the globe.
To date, Pin-Ups For Vets ambassadors have visited nearly 15,000 hospitalized veterans and donated over $80,000 toward new therapy equipment and financial assistance for veterans’ healthcare programs. This ongoing effort, Yeingst said, makes the experience an especially rewarding one.
“Pin-Ups For Vets has always celebrated strength, intelligence and natural beauty of other female veterans [while] serving its mission of caring for our brothers and sisters that are hospitalized or deployed. ... I cannot show my gratitude enough.”
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.