For 10 years now, Gina Elise and her team of elite military veterans have been using their skills and training to make the world a better place. The granddaughter of a World War II veteran, Elise chose to honor the nation’s combat veterans with a tribute to a bygone era by creating a vintage pin-up calendar.
“I wanted to do something unique to give back to our service members,” she says of the idea for Pin-Ups for Vets — which she began working on in 2006, two years after she graduated from UCLA. Using legendary beauties like Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth as inspiration, Elise’s first calendar was produced in the spring of 2006 and it raised more than $5,000 for a VA hospital in California.
Elise promoted that first calendar by delivering the finished product to veterans while dressed as a 1940s pin-up girl. While touring, Elise immediately realized the impact and potential for greater results. “Fast forward 10 years, we have visited over 7,000 Veterans at 54 VA Hospitals, Military Hospitals, and State Veterans Homes in 29 states,” she says with pride. “We have also done morale-boosting visits to 23 military bases and we’ve donated over $52,000 to purchase state-of-the art rehab equipment for VA and Military hospitals across the U.S.”
In addition, the organization also ships care packages to American troops around the world to let them know that their sacrifices are appreciated.