NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Redlands, CA, United States, 2014/01/03 - Hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops Get a Morale Boost and Support From 2014 pin-up calendar. Award-winning nonprofit organization, Pin-Ups For Vets, releases its 8th annual fundraising calendar featuring Veterans from all military branches.
Gina Elise, a So. California resident, has used her brains-and-beauty combination for years to benefit hospitalized Veterans across America. Elise is the founder of Pin-ups For Vets, a national award-winning nonprofit organization that has recently released its annual fundraising 1940s-style pin-up calendar that is sent to supporters in 50 states and to countries around the world.
The proceeds from the annual calendars help the organization to buy new equipment for VA Hospitals, make personal bedside visits to ill and injured Vets in all 50 states, supply the deployed troops with morale boosting care packages, provide clothing for homeless Veterans, and do make-overs for military wives and female Vets entering the workplace.
The national nonprofit Elise founded has been honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal, the California Jaycees and Jr. Chamber of Commerce, the Daily Points of Light Foundation, Oprah Winfrey, and America's deployed troops who have flown 9 U.S. flags in her honor and named an Apache helicopter after her.
Elise works hard to bring new elements to the calendar each year. Featured in the 2014 edition are veterans from all branches of the military some who are dealing with amputation, PTSD, burns and traumatic brain injury. Also, for the first time, she is spotlighting two female veterans as models, Kelli Serio and Mylee YC.
According to Elise, Serio served four years in the Navy including two deployments to the Persian Gulf. She was a Petty Officer 3rd Class and a navigator on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. Serio is the featured pin-up girl in the calendar's October photo.
YC was an active duty soldier for more than 11 years. Her duties included civil affairs specialist and an instructor preparing initial entry soldiers for the mental and physical expectations of their service. In 2011, YC was selected to be one of the first women to train and deploy as part of the Army Special Operations Cultural Support Program, Elise said. During her deployment, YC enabled U.S. Special Operations Teams to gain cultural insight, gather information on enemy activities and help promote governance for Afghan families. YC supported special operations units in remote parts of Afghanistan. It was during this deployment that she discovered a mass in her left breast. She made the decision to continue her tour while keeping a close eye on the lump. Upon returning in March of 2012, she underwent an ultrasound, which led to a surgical consult and a diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer. During the past year YC has been through chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, a partial hysterectomy and radiation. Upon completing her military commitment, she hopes to work as a trainer/coach helping others realize the benefits of living a healthy and fit lifestyle. YC is the featured model in the Pin-Ups For Vets calendar's month of August.
Other firsts inside the new calendar include group shots; one of the organization’s volunteers; another of male veterans from each branch of the military who are surrounding Elise in the calendar's November photo.
Elise and volunteer calendar girls, including Serio and YC, have been touring Veterans Hospitals across the U.S. and handing out calendars and cheering up patients.
It’s been Elise’s goal to visit at least one VA hospital in all 50 states. “We just reached a huge milestone with the organization,” she said. “We just visited a VA hospital in the 26th state on our 50-state tour. We have visited over 5,000 hospitalized veterans at their bedsides in 42 VA and military hospitals across the U.S.”
"Young women, who have never thought to step foot into a VA Hospital, now contact me daily from across the U.S., to see how they can join our 1940's calendar girl volunteers on our 50-state VA Hospital Tour. We have finally made volunteering GLAMOROUS," says Elise.
“Our inspiration was the 1940s pin-up girls who boosted morale for the WWII soldiers fighting overseas,” Elise said. “I just think that our veterans and troops need our support; some who are in hospitals will need our support for the rest of their lives and we have to be there for them.”
"We have collected so many wonderful memories over the past 8 years, but one that I will never forget is the time that we visited a Veteran who had suffered a traumatic brain injury and who had not spoken in a month. As we stood at his bedside to talk and to present him with an appreciation gift, he finally spoke his first words again. It was truly an amazing moment, that will stay with me forever," marvels Elise.
Visitors to the Pin-Ups For Vets website can order a 2014 calendar for themselves, for a hospitalized Veteran, or for a deployed service member. The donated calendars are then personally delivered to the hospitalized Veterans by the volunteer calendar girls or shipped in care packages to the deployed troops.