Pin-Ups For Vets has 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 12 women decked out in 1940s vogue — veterans representing all five branches of the military — marks the 15th year the company has endeavored to raise morale while shattering stereotypes about women in the armed services.
“In addition to helping these 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,” said company founder Gina Elise. “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 2021 edition is Monica Patrow, a Marine Corps veteran and avionics technician who noted the importance of being able to show a different side of herself than her peers in uniform were accustomed to.
“My Marine Corps uniform will forever be the most prideful thing I will ever wear,” Patrow said. “But with the uniform, comes uniformity. And being a female, you can lose your feminine touches. ... Being a pin-up shows that even though we spent years tying our combat boots and twirling our hair into buns to look more masculine, we are still ... gorgeous, classy women with a background that surprises mostly anybody we meet.”
Sarah Weber, a Coast Guard veteran currently working toward a doctorate in psychology, also lauded the opportunity, saying, “The best part of being involved with Pin-Ups For vets is the camaraderie. I work a lot with Veterans in transition these days, on campus and clinically, and it is clear to me how much benefit there is in maintaining connection to a community of former or current service members.”
“However, in most traditional organizations meant for those purposes, it is difficult to find many women Veterans. This is not the case with Pin-Ups For Vets. I meet so many amazing, talented, big-hearted women through being involved with this organization.
During a normal year, Pin-Ups For Vets would be in the middle of a 50-state VA hospital tour, but the pandemic, like it has with so many other customary practices, has thrown a wrench in those plans.
Instead, the organization is distributing care packages to hospitalized veterans all over the country.
To date, members of Pin-Ups For Vets have visited nearly 15,000 hospitalized veterans and donated over $70,000 toward new therapy equipment and financial assistance for veterans’ healthcare programs. This effort, Weber says, makes the experience especially rewarding.
“This, on top of the fun of dressing up, volunteering and helping raise money for the cause of other Veterans, makes this the perfect way of staying involved in a community which I care so deeply about.”
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.