Since 2006, the nonprofit Pin-Ups for Vets has visited thousands of hospitalized veterans to boost their morale, and created yearly calendars to both give to the veterans, and sell to raise money for them and their care.
This year’s calendar, now available for purchase, features 19 models – 10 of whom are members of The American Legion. Many of those are from Hollywood Post 43 in California, which Pin-Ups founder Gina Elise said has been a longtime supporter of her organization. In fact, the post made Elise an Honorary Colonel in 2015 for her work in the military and veterans community – an honor Elise called “incredible.”
“The support of Post 43 has meant so much,” Elise said. “They are always reaching out to us to be involved with events there. I think it’s fantastic that they are so proactive about staying connected with the local community.
“We have held our annual calendar release parties there, and the atmosphere of the historic building lends itself so well to our 1940s theme. So many of our Pin-Ups for Vets ambassadors are American Legion members, and I am so grateful to them for volunteering with us.”
The Legionnaires in this year’s calendar are Linsay Rousseau, Dianna Wilson, Fernanda Miranda, Jennifer Marshall, Shannon Corbeil, Jennifer Brofer, Tess Rutherford and Jacqlyn Cope, all of Post 43; Megan Martine of Post 289 in Riverside, Calif.; and Patti Gomez of Post 141 in Manlius, N.Y. Gomez was named Mrs. New York earlier this year and will compete for Mrs. America in August.
Rousseau, who served as a public affairs sergeant and combat photographer for the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade Combat from 2004-2007, said Pin-Ups for Vets helped bring her back together with fellow veterans.
“When I got out of the military I cut off virtually all contact with the military and veteran community,” Rousseau said. “It wasn't until I moved to L.A. and met an amazing group of veterans that I started getting back involved. Pin-Ups for Vets was not only doing amazing work for veterans, but they were approaching it from a really unique angle, something no one else is doing. I love that I can be part of a group of extraordinary female vets and also give back to veterans.”
Elise said being involved with veterans and the military community inspires her to continue with Pin-Ups for Vets. “From their resilience, to work ethic, to adaptability, to dependability, to commitment to a cause greater then themselves, these are traits that I greatly admire,” she said. “I watch how our veterans have overcome tremendous obstacles and go on to do even more extraordinary things. It motivates me to keep giving back to this community that inspires me every day.”