Pin-Ups For Vets released its annual calendar in an effort to raise money to support hospitalized veterans and personnel currently deployed overseas, the non-profit announced.
This year’s edition, which features 19 women decked out in 1940s vogue — veterans representing all five branches of the military — marks the 14th year the company has endeavored to raise morale while simultaneously shattering stereotypes about women in the armed services.
“The calendar images are starting a conversation," said company founder Gina Elise. “People see the images, and they want to know the stories behind the ladies.”
Last year’s edition featured Kirstie Ennis, a wounded Marine veteran who recently received ESPN’s Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2019 ESPYS.
Ennis, who lost her leg following a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, is currently striving to climb all seven of the world’s highest summits.
One participant in the 2020 edition is Erikka Davis, an Army combat veteran who said she was thrilled to be afforded the platform to share her story and show off a different side of herself than her peers have become accustomed to.
“As a female MP, it is difficult to be respected. And, so, hardening my personality seemed to be an effective way to keep up with my fellow male soldiers,” Davis said.
“This has been a difficult switch to turn off. Pin-Ups for Vets is slowly reminding me that I am not only allowed to be a veteran, but a lady as well. Having that feeling that I can relax, let go, and just have fun is long overdue.”
Jovane Marie, a Marine veteran, echoed that sentiment, saying, “There is nothing that says I can’t be a hard-charging Marine, and a lipstick-wearing pin-up, so I choose to be both.”
As part of the organization, participating veterans will be hitting the road on a nationwide tour to visit Veterans Affairs hospitals and boost morale. To date, members of Pin-Ups For Vets have visited over 13,000 vets, an endeavor the calendar girls take special pride in.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this organization,” Davis said.
Funds raised from calendar sales are distributed to VA hospitals to help wounded veterans.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.