Casablanca Nights: An Exotic Adventure At The Crest

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Pin-Ups for Vets at The Crest April 4th
A Night of Belly dancing and Burlesque to support our Nation’s Heroes
Held Saturday April 4th, 2015 at 7:00pm at the Historic Crest Theater in Westwood, CA “Casablanca Nights” is a trip back in time and around the world.  The night will include classic burlesque inspired by far away lands, belly dancing beauties and our regular crew of morale boosting Pin-Ups including female veterans, military wives and patriotic gals!
Produced by Pin-Ups on Tour, the evening promises to be a unique show for an amazing cause. From the moment guests enter the event, they will be treated to sensual entertainment from around the world.  And the best part? Proceeds from the event go to benefit Award-Winning nonprofit Pin-Ups for Vets to help Support Hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops.  Fox Sports has generously donated 4 VIP tix to Minnesota Timberwolves vs. LA Lakers on Friday, April 10 @ 7:30p with 2 parking passes as part of the raffle basket.
Since 2006, Pin-Ups for Vets has worked hard to improve the quality of life for our Veterans in the hospitals, in the shelters, and for our troops in the combat zones.  Pin-Ups For Vets has received Congressional Recognition and deployed troops have flown nine American flags over military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan in honor of the work the organization has done to support the military community. Additionally, the nonprofit has been featured on media outlets such as FOX, ABC, NBC, The Huffington Post, Queen Latifah Show, Inside Edition, PBS, AOL NEWS, National Examiner, American Forces Network, and The MilitaryChannel!   The Pin-Ups For Vets Ambassadors will be at the event selling the organization’s classic calendars, merchandise and serving up libations at the “Pin-Up Bar” to raise funds for the nonprofit’s various veterans initiatives. Guests are encouraged to dress in vintage attire and join in the fun! 
More information on the nonprofit can be found awww.pinupsforvets.com
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Blonde Bombshells: A Tribute To Screen Sirens at the Crest Westwood

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Do blondes really have more fun? Pin-Ups for Vets is throwing a unique fundraiser to answer that question! Pin-Ups for Vets Ambassadors, who include Veterans, military wives, and patriotic gals, will transform themselves into blonde bombshells to help raise funds and awareness for hospitalized Veterans and deployed Troops.

This spectacular event will be held on Saturday March 7th, 2015 at 7:00pm at the historic Crest Theater in Westwood, CA. “Blonde Bombshells: A Tribute To Screen Sirens” is a celebration of everything we love about Hollywood glamour! This magical night will include an All-Blonde Burlesque extravaganza, inspired by Hollywood’s Classic Screen Sirens. Following this great entertainment will be a screening of the American film classic, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Monroe’s rendition of the song, “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”, and her legendary pink dress are considered iconic! Don’t miss our raffle ticket-selling beauties and a Pin-Up Bar serving up libations.  The Pin-Ups For Vets events makes guests feel like they are stepping into another decade, and have developed a strong base of fans who dress in vintage attire to show their support for the nonprofit’s mission.

Click below to see footage of last month’s fundraiser:

Proceeds from the event go to benefit award-winning nonprofit Pin-Ups For Vets to help support Hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops. As a way of saying thank you, The Crest Theater has donated a limited quantity of FREE tickets for current or former service members to attend.

2015 marks Pin-Ups For Vets 9th annual fundraiser calendar and almost a decade of supporting our American Heroes. As an added bonus, this year’s Pin-Ups For Vets calendar includes 12 Veterans, 9 of which are female Veterans!  Every year, the nonprofit is featured in the media for the work they do to bring joy to Veterans through more than 6,000 personal bedside visits with hospitalized Veterans nationwide. These calendars, that have become collector’s items, will be available for purchase at the event.

Every year Pin-Ups For Vets is featured in the media for improving the quality of life for our Veterans in the hospitals and in the shelters, and for our troops in the combat zones. The organization has been able to donate over $50,000 in therapy equipment to VA Hospitals nationwide through the sales of this fundraiser calendar, that has been featured on: FOX, ABC, NBC, Queen Latifah Show, Inside Edition, PBS, AOL News, National Examiner, Huffington Post, American Forces Network, The Military Channel, Good Day LA, Gene Simmons Family Jewels TV show, among countless other media outlets.

Tickets Available at: http://blondebombshells.brownpapertickets.com

March 7, 2015 * Doors Open 7pm // Show 8pm

Crest Theater  1262 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

For more information, please contact: Julia@pinupsforvets.com

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The Green Light District: A Night in the Roaring 20s

Green Light District Event Flyer

 

Los Angeles, CA– January 26, 201– The burlesque powerhouse Workin’ The Tease and Pin-Ups for Vets are teaming up for The Green Light District, a night in the Roaring 20s, to raise funds to support hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops!

Held Saturday February 7th, 2015 at 7:00pm at the Crest Theater in Westwood, CA, the Green Light District is a celebration of all things vintage glamour; an event that would make Daisy Buchanan green with envy!  The Green Light District, aptly placed the weekend before Valentine’s Day for those who choose to celebrate their fun loving freedom as a Singleton!

Held at the historic art deco Crest Theater in Westwood, CA the night will include Gatsby inspired burlesque numbers performed in front of classic silent films, circus acts, typewriting poets in the lobby, and larger than life glittery sparkly burlesque numbers! Confirmed lineup includes the Most Dangerous Woman in Hollywood Tonya Kay, Seducation Queen Jessabelle Thunder, The Stunning Siren Noire, tap sensation Buddy Watson, and Workin’ The Tease creators Kitty Kat DeMille and Mona Bella.  All these numbers will be tied together by Electro Swing maestro DJ Skyler (who’s just got off DJ-ing with Lady Gaga at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas on NYE)!’

Get your tickets here: http://greenlight.brownpapertickets.com

Dapper dolls and dandies raising dough for our boys overseas?  That’s the cat’s pajamas!

“Can’t repeat the past?  Why of course you can!”
–The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

ABOUT PIN-UPS FOR VETS
Since 2006, Pin-Ups for Vets has raised money for under-funded hospital programs that support America’s Veterans and recovering military service members. Due to our work with hospitalized Veterans we have been honored by Oprah Winfrey and recognized by Congress. Pin-Ups gets a ton of media exposure at our events (such as FOX, ABC, NBC,Queen Latifah Show, Inside Edition, PBS, AOL NEWS, National Examiner, American Forces Network, and The MilitaryChannel)!  Our Pin-Ups For Vets fundraising projects sells nostalgic style calendars, T-shirts, and posters on the charity’s website along with our events. Supporters purchase these items for themselves, for hospitalized Veterans, or for deployed service members.

ABOUT WORKIN’ THE TEASE
Only six months old, Workin’ The Tease burlesque brand has become a powerhouse exploration into the world of what it means to be a modern day burlesque dancer!
Miss Kitty Kat DeMille and Mona Bella met two years ago after both joining The Dollface Dames. Mona was a skilled songbird with voice of Broadway ingénue who could also dance like the dickens. Kitty Kat was a brainy ballerina who also infiltrated the world of aerial silks and fire dancing.  From L.A. to Vegas to Seattle to the Sundance Film Festival, Kitty Kat and Mona traveled far and wide performing to eager crowds.  And everywhere they went they got asked the same questions: Do you tell your parents you do burlesque? How does your boyfriend feel about it? Can I get your number?  They put their two fabulously coiffed heads together and thought: burly dancers are smart, funny, and sassy, I bet if we put some of these answers on camera some smart, funny, and sassy people would appreciate it!

ABOUT THE CREAST THEATER
The Crest serves as West LA’s premiere showcase destination for artists and entertainers. Built in 1940, the historic art deco performance hall now specializes in interactive entertainment and film. In 2010, it was named a Cultural Landmark by the city, and in the time since its reopening in 2013, The Crest has hosted film & music festivals, charity events, birthday celebrations, burlesque shows, and red carpet premieres.  The unique interior, intimate size, and impeccable acoustics are some of its hallmarks.

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The 2nd Annual Hollywood Cantina: Salute & Shimmy

Hollywood Cantina: Salute & Shimmy

Los Angeles, CA–January 3, 2015– Pin-Ups for Vets & The Dollface Dames are teaming up once again for The Hollywood Cantina: Salute & Shimmy to raise funds to support hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops!  Don your spiffiest outfits and join us for a WWII-Style party, open to the public and FREE for Veterans & Active Duty Service Members to attend at the Historic American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood on January 17th.

From the moment guests enter the event, they will be treated to an event that would make Bob Hope proud. Our goal is to recreate the grandstand magic of the Hollywood Canteen that operated during the 1940’s as a club offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas.

The evening will feature dressed up 1940’s Pin-Ups, Burlesque Dancers, Vaudeville style Comedy, Variety Acts, Soulful Lounge singer, raffle-ticket selling Baby Doll Beauties and more than a few surprises! With entertainment & atmosphere around every turn, guests will feel like they stepped into America’s most glamorous decade.

Vintage Inspired Fashion Company Voodoo Vixen & We Are The Mighty Network have sponsored costs for the event, which means 100% of ticket sales and donations will go directly towards the nonprofit’s mission to support hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops.

Pin-Ups For Vets raises funds to improve Veterans’ healthcare, donates funds to VA hospitals for medical equipment and program expansion, improves quality of life for Veterans across the United States through personal bedside visits to deliver gifts and show appreciation, promotes volunteerism at Veterans Hospitals, conducts boosting events for military spouses, and delivers care packages to troops.

2015 marks the organization’s 9th calendar, and almost a decade of supporting our American Heroes. As an added bonus, this year’s Pin-Ups For Vets  calendar includes 12 veterans, 9 of which are female veterans!  Every year the nonprofit is featured in the media for the work they do to bring joy to veterans through more than 6,000 in-person bedside visits with hospitalized Veterans nationwide. The organization has been able to donate over $50,000 in rehabilitation equipment to VA Hospitals across the U.S. thanks to the sales of their calendar – which has been featured on: FOX, ABC, NBC, PBS, National Examiner, Huffington Post, Queen Latifah Show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, AOL News, Inside Edition, Good Day LA, The Military Channel, American Forces Network, and many others.

Pretty pin-ups raising some moolah for Vets…now that’s cookin’ with gas!

Reserve your tickets here: Hollywood Cantina: Salute & Shimmy

Event begins at 8pm at American Legion Post 43, 2035 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90068

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An Evening With “Bettie Page”: A Cinematic Burlesque Spectacular

EWBP - IIIPin-Ups for Vets is known for throwing not-so-average fundraisers to benefit hospitalized Veterans and deployed Troops. On Dec 6th, the organization is inviting the community to join them for an Evening with “Bettie Page”: A Cinematic Burlesque Spectacular at the Crest Theater in Westwood at 7:30pm.

The event will feature Calendar Girls, Bettie Page Style Burlesque, fashion show by Vintage-Inspired Clothing designer Voodoo Vixen and a special screening of the film “Bettie Page Reveals All”. With proceeds of the event going to benefit our American Heroes, the nonprofit is encouraging the community to dress in their favorite retro-wear and join them in celebrating the work of this iconic Pin-Up.

You can view a trailer of the film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DtmPJxOQKU

Founded by the vivacious Gina Elise, Pin-Ups For Vets raises funds to improve Veterans’ healthcare, donates funds to VA hospitals for medical equipment and program expansion, improves quality of life for Veterans across the United States through personal bedside visits to deliver gifts and show appreciation, promotes volunteerism at Veterans Hospitals, conducts boosting events for military spouses, and delivers care packages to troops.

2015 marks the organization’s 9th calendar and almost a decade of supporting our American Heroes. As an added bonus this year’s calendar includes 12 veterans, 9 of which are female veterans! Every year the nonprofit is featured in the media for the work they do to bring joy to veterans through more than 6,000 in-person bedside visits with hospitalized Veterans nationwide. The organization has been able to donate over $50,000 in rehabilitation equipment to VA Hospitals across the U.S. thanks to the sales of their calendar – which has been featured on: FOX, ABC, NBC, PBS, National Examiner, Huffington Post, Queen Latifah Show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, AOL News, Inside Edition, Good Day LA, The Military Channel,       American Forces Network, and many others.

The event will be held at Crest Theater located at 1262 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tickets:

$20 (General Admission)

$30 (VIP “Best View” Seats)

Doors 7:30pm/Show 8:00pm

RSVP Here:

http://www.tunestub.com/event.cfm?id=180659&showTimingID=180659&buy

 

For more information on Pin-Ups for Vets, please visit www.Pinupsforvets.com

Media is invited to attend the event with advance approval.

Please email julia@Pinupsforvets.com for credentials.

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Twelve U.S. Veterans Featured in 2015 Pin-Up Calendar To Benefit Hospitalized Vets & Deployed Troops

LARGER COVER

Los Angeles, California — September 12, 2014 Pin-Ups For Vets, a national award-winning nonprofit organzation based in Southern California, has started pre-sales for its much anticipated 9th annual calendar that will once again raise funding to support hospitalized Veterans and deployed troops. This upcoming calendar has more than a few surprises—twelve, to be exact!

Twelve outstanding U.S. Veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force have stepped up to help support others who have served and sacrificed. “Our nonprofit organization, Pin-Ups For Vets, is very proud to feature these twelve exceptional men and women” said Gina Elise, Founder and CEO of Pin-Ups For Vets and granddaughter of a WWII Army Veteran.

Ricky Ryba, a US Navy Veteran,  appears in the 2015 fundraiser calendar in a photo with Gina Elise.  Ryba, who just finished his time in the Navy after 11 years, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in Information Technology. He was stationed on 2 ships in Mayport, FL (USS John L Hall FFG-32 and USS Farragut DDG-99). He deployed overseas twice to over 20 countries, and then he transferred to Point Mugu, CA where he was working at a Naval Satellite Operations Center.  Ryba says, “I wanted to be in the 2015 Pin-Ups For Vets Calendar because I’ve seen how much Pin-ups For Vets positively affects Veterans across the globe. The calendars bring a smile to a Veteran’s face, and shows them that there are so many people out there that care and are grateful for their service. Not only does it boost morale, but purchasing a calendar helps raise money for hospital equipment for Veterans and future hospital visits for the Pin-Ups For Vets Ambassadors to personally delivery these calendars with smiles and love.”

Air Force Veteran, Julie Yarnell, who is also featured in the calendar, served on active duty Air Force as an A-10/F-15/U-2 Avionics Specialist on the flight line at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.  Yarnell explains, “Being a veteran, I found this organization to be my calling because I get to help those who have been where I have and BEYOND. There are few things more satisfying than putting a smile on someone’s face; that is what we do at PUFV, and in great fashion, I might add!”

Calendar model, Jennifer Marshall, is a proud US Navy veteran who served five years.  During her time in, she was stationed on Naval Outlying Field San Nicolas Island and on the nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Although rated as a Logistics Specialist, she also served on the Ships Security Defense Force and the Repair Locker Fire Team. She deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and looks back at her time in the Navy with fond memories. One of the the things she missed the most about the Navy was the sense of service and camaraderie, two things she has since rediscovered during her volunteer effors with Pin-Ups for Vets.  Jennifer says, “I love working with Pin-Ups for Vets because there is nothing better than spending time with fellow veterans and seeing them smile ear to ear. Knowing we have that shared experience only adds to the quality time we spend together during visits. Their service means a lot to me and it is my honor to meet such courageous men and women.”

 “Our calendar models have such fascinating stories to tell. They are truly an amazing group of people,” said Gina Elise. “One of our female Veterans, Vera Wayne, served in both the Navy and U.S. Air Force, and now she is a dedicated volunteer who helps us in our fundraising events and also accompanies us on our personal visits to deliver gifts to ill and injured Vets in VA Hospitals, as part of our 50-State VA Hospital Tour,” said Elise. “We are also thrilled to showcase some of our beautiful Pin-Ups For Vets volunteers in the new calendar,” added Elise.

For those interested in purchasing a calendar for themselves or donating a calendar for a deployed service member that will be shipped in a care package, or donating a calendar for a hospitalized Vet that will be personally delivered on an upcoming VA hospital visit by the pin-up volunteers, please visit www.PinUpsForVets.com and click on the “Order Now” button. Payment by check can be sent to: Pin-Ups For Vets, P.O. Box 33, Claremont, CA 91711

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A One of A Kind Fundraiser with Pin-Ups, Pann’s & Patriots!

PPP - Flyer

 

Historic LA Landmark, Panns Restaurant, Joins forces with Award-Winning Nonprofit,

Pin-Ups for Vets, for Classic HomeStyle Cooking that Supports Hospitalized Veterans

Moved by the recent news coming out in the news about Veteran healthcare, Jim Poulos, the owner of Pann’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, knew that he wanted to do something to support America’s hospitalized Veterans.

In an effort to help these heroes, Pann’s Diner will be donating 100% of sales from their Thanksgiving Style Meals served between 11am – 9pm on Wednesday, October 8th to the Award-Winning Nonprofit Organization, Pin-Ups for Vets. In Pin-Ups for Vets signature style the day will be filled with retro fun, classic homestyle cooking, calendar girls, raffle prizes, live entertainment and more.

Jim’s Family is an example of the American Dream, and this fundraiser will support the troops that have given his family the freedom to thrive. Pann’s 56 year history began with George and Rena Panagopoulos’dream of moving to California and having a successful family business. George, a Greek immigrant, enlisted in the US Air Force and was later sent to Italy where he cooked in the field for our troops and Generals during World War II.

By joining us for a meal, Los Angeles can come together as a community to show their support for our nations ill and injured heroes. The goal is to raise in excess of $10,000 for the Pin-Ups for Vets charity that has been working hard since 2006 to support hospitalized Veterans and Deployed Troops.

Founded by the vivacious Gina Elise, Pin-Ups For Vets raises funds to improve Veterans’ healthcare, donates funds to VA hospitals for medical equipment and program expansion, improves quality of life for ill Veterans across the United States through personal bedside visits to deliver gifts and show appreciation, promotes volunteerism at Veterans Hospitals, conducts morale-boosting events for military spouses, and boosts morale for deployed troops through delivery of care packages.

2015 marks the organizations 9th Calendar and almost a decade of supporting our American Heroes. Every year the nonprofit is featured in the media for the work they do to make veterans SMILE through over 6,000 in-person bedside visits with hospitalized Veterans nationwide. The organization has been able to donate over $50,000 in rehab equipment to VA Hospitals across the U.S. thanks to the sales of their calendar – which has been featured on:

FOX, ABC, NBC, Queen Latifah Show, Inside Edition, PBS, AOL NEWS, National Examiner, American Forces Network, The  Military Channel, Good Day LA, Gene Simmons Family Jewels TV show, among countless other media outlets.

The Event will he Held at Panns Diner at 6710 LaTijera Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045 from 11am – 9pm. If you stop by earlier in the day to drop off a donation, Panns will be serving their full breakfast menu.

For More information on Pin-Ups for Vets, please visits www.PinUpsforVets.com 

 

Media is Invited to Attend with Advance Approval. 

Please contact julia@PinUpsforVets.com for Credentials.

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From Petty Officer To Pin-Up

My name is Kelli Serio and I am a United States Navy Veteran. I come from a small town in Oklahoma, called Tahlequah. It took me 18 years to realize that I wanted to live a life of service and adventure. This is when I enlisted in the military.

I can recall a moment when I realized that joining the Navy was my only option. I was always searching for the next best thing after high school and I wanted to be a part of greatness. What better way than to serve my beautiful country while traveling the world?

My meeting with the Navy recruiters wasn’t typical. There was no persuading necessary on their behalf because I knew what I wanted.  I walked in there and asked them how quickly I could go.

At just 18 years old I was off on a new journey with no clue what my future held. I was intrigued.  I entered boot camp, which tested my ability to be good at improvising and making due with I had.  It included a lot of marching, studying, working out and ironing uniforms.

I was appointed “RPOC” instantly on day 2. This stands for “Recruit Chief Petty Officer”. My duties were to run the division and keep them in check while we did drill. It was an honor to march my division into the building to the drum cadence holding the cutlass at graduation.  My parents were so proud.  A year prior to that I was leading my cheerleading squad.

With my graduating class at Great Lakes, IL in 2008.

The Navy gave me a new perspective on life. Being out of my comfort zone was something that I grew used to.  Even today, I like to live my life in the same way, always pushing my limits so I can continue to grow.

I was fortunate enough to get stationed in sunny Southern California at Naval Air Station North Island. The only time I experienced love at first sight was when I stepped off of that airplane on Nov. 1, 2008. Palm trees and beautiful weather were in my reach, and I embraced them with open arms.

A feeling of never-ending bliss came over me. Life had taken on a greater meaning. Until that moment, I wasn’t really living. I was just going through the motions of what society does and what they think is acceptable.

Stepping onboard the USS Ronald Reagan for the first time was intimidating for a small town girl like myself. Adrenaline rushed through my veins, but I adjusted quickly. In no time, I was on my first deployment to the Gulf of Oman in May of 2009. We set sail, completed our missions and even hit some foreign ports on the way home.

On “port aft” bearing taker watch.

I would be lying if I told you that ship life was easy. Living in close quarters with thousands of people for months on end has its ups and downs. In addition, the detachment from the outside world only to be lost in my own thoughts was unsettling at first.

I did anything to take my mind off of negativity. I had fallen off the wagon after a long history of physical fitness but being deployed brought me back to my roots.

I began to use fitness as an outlet for the anxiety I incurred while deployed. The aircraft carrier was well equipped and fully supportive of those who took pride in their health. Luckily, my division was small and more privileged than many others on the ship. We had the freedom to engage in positive activities.

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I took a “selfie” on deployment in 2011 before I realized that’s what it was called!

I was meritoriously advanced a few months after my first deployment. I was a dual-qualified seaman (possessing both air and surface warfare pins), which was uncommon for a junior sailor. It exuded a sense of motivation and drive and it made me proud. I worked hard on the ship so it felt good to be recognized by the captain and other superiors.

Coming home from my first deployment in 2009. You can see my warfare pins as a dual qualified Seaman.

In June of 2010, CVN-76 went on a cruise of a different kind. It was called a RIMPAC.  We sailed around Hawaii and played battle games with different countries. Around that time, I was asked to become a qualified master helmsman. The duties of a master helmsman were tough and tedious. We were the ones partially responsible for the ship’s safety when we pulled in and out of ports, steered during high seas, strait transits and underway replenishments.

It was an honor to not only be one of a few sailors who could do this special skill out of thousands, but to be a female made it much more rewarding. My old navigator trusted me behind the wheel. The look of relief I received from him when I took the helm during tense situations makes me smile even today.

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I ran into the occasional celebrities while on duty. I was sad to have duty on a Sunday but happy that LL COOL J stopped by.

Time went on and eventually our ship was due for another deployment. We departed North Island on Feb. 2, 2011 on what we thought would be a routine cruise. It turned out that it was everything but that.

On March 11, 2011 a tsunami, triggered by the Tōhoku Earthquake, struck the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Soon after the incident, the plant began to release radioactive materials into the atmosphere. Doing what we did best, our ship put a halt on our original mission, and instead, rendered aid to Japan. We spent several weeks off the coast of Japan participating in what was later addressed as “Operation Tomodachi”.

Our relief efforts included giving the Japanese food and water supplies, search and rescue missions, signaling back and forth between ships, communications and many more. As soon as we were cleared to go, we traded positions with another carrier in the Pacific and headed to the Gulf. My supervisor at the time appointed me to send a message to the Japanese ships in Morse code as we departed. What a trip.

Navigating the ship home from my last deployment in 2011.

That deployment ended up being 8 months long. At one point, I never thought it would end. I kept my eye on the prize and eventually made it home. As my time in the Navy grew shorter, reality set in and I had to figure out what my next move was.

Before I served, I was a nursing major. But after years of ‘dressing down’ and not feeling like myself, I longed for a new way to self-express. The arts, or some form of it, were calling my name. One day, on our transit home from that last deployment, I was watching the news in my workspace. That’s when it hit me. I wanted to be a journalist.

I knew I had a story to tell and a new reason to live. I began to obsess over learning everything I could about my future career. That obsession eventually grew into a desire to enter the entertainment industry, too.

I was honorably discharged from the Navy in January of 2012. It was time to move on and fulfill more of my lifelong goals.  I wasted no time in continuing my journalism education and also looking for ways to become an actor in Los Angeles.

In order to be closer to the entertainment capital, I did what most people do and made the big move to “The City of Angels”. Making sudden changes became natural to me after the life I had just lived. Picking up and moving at the drop of a hat was no big deal. I was a thrill seeker.

After several months in Los Angeles, I began to network and meet people very similar to myself. I became part of a group called “Veterans in Film & Television”. This group brings both active duty and prior military together to work towards common goals, much like the military. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to be exposed to than hard-working and dedicated people all striving for success in the same industry as myself.

Kelli with the founders of "Veterans In Film and Television", Mike Dowling and Kyle Hausman-Stokes and some of its members.

With the founders of “Veterans In Film and Television”, Mike Dowling and Kyle Hausman-Stokes, and some of its members.

The opportunities that came to me from this networking group are so big that they consume my life in positive ways everyday. A young lady named, Gina Elise, was casting for her annual pin-up calendar, “Pin-Ups For Vets”. I found out that several of my superiors in “Veterans in Film and Television” were pitching my name to Gina as a potential pin-up model for her newest edition.

One day out of the blue, I got a call from her and this is when my life changed, yet again. I had no idea that one picture in a calendar could change so much. At first, modeling in the calendar seemed fun and glamorous. I love dressing up and looking pretty as much as the next girl.

Proud to be “Miss November” in the 2014 Pin-Ups For Vets Calendar.
Photo by Tim Hunter.

I was cast in the calendar and I set out to do some research about the charity. I wanted to know what my contribution would be. Through my research I discovered the national recognition Gina Elise has received since the start of her journey in 2006. To date, she has donated over $50,000 worth of rehabilitation equipment to different veterans hospitals around the country.

The organization has been featured on several news stations, print publications and has even been honored by Oprah Winfrey. Nine flags have been flown over bases in Iraq and Afghanistan in honor of the charity. Pin-Ups For Vets has also recently received congressional recognition.

After the 2014 calendar was released, this is when the pin-up madness began.  I started working alongside Gina several times a week. I made myself available to her any chance I got. It was addicting and her personality and hunger to support the troops changed me.

Something inside of me clicked after assisting her during several hospital and base visits. I found a positive way to continue serving my country. Who knew that dressing like a 1940s pin-up girl and visiting hospitalized veterans and active duty troops could be so fun and rewarding?  To me there is no better feeling then the looks of gratitude we get while giving gifts to these veterans at their bedsides. The simplicity of making someone smile in such a way taps into my emotions.

On a Pin-Ups For Vets Visit to my former base, NAS North Island in San Diego.  This was the first time I was back on base as a civilian!

On a Pin-Ups For Vets Visit to my former base, NAS North Island in San Diego. This was the first time I was back on base as a civilian!

 Everything I previously described is currently what I’m living. My days are filled with contentment and happiness because I know that I’m living the life I should be. Nothing short of working towards my ultimate goals in life, which is to better the world any way that I can. I have the same mentality as the day I enisted into the military. I’m alive and I’m able, so it ‘s my duty.

Working with Pin-Ups For Vets not only satisfies my needs of giving back to those who deserve it, but it’s also a learning experience. Gina Elise has let me freely act as a Pin-Ups For Vets Ambassador and assist her with journalism and public relations efforts. She is always there for me when I need to talk, and I’m proud to call her my friend.

So now I’m giving back to a cause I completely endorse, learning to become a better journalist while exposing myself to some of the most genuine and interesting people I have ever encountered. When I reflect on my 24 years of life, I’m amazed at where I stand today. I am one of the lucky ones.

I realize not everyone is born with the same warrior-type mentality that I was blessed with. Something I have learned the hard way is to never settle.  Life is too valuable, short and beautiful to stray down an endless path of nothingness. We must recognize our potential to succeed and not be afraid to act on it.  I have always known that there was a girl inside of me destined for something big.

I currently live in Los Angeles, go to college expense free at a California university, actively give back to the community and get to pursue the entertainment industry.

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Photo by Gary Westby.

The Navy has given me every ounce of pride, happiness and positive thing that I have.  I don’t fear change or the unknown.   Every negative situation will shed light on something positive. The mind is so powerful that if you change your thoughts and outlook, your life will change. All of the pieces will suddenly just fit.   There’s no time to worry about insignificant things or dwell on the past. Living a life ‘wishing’ or ‘hoping’ to accomplish goals is not living at all. When I want something bad enough I make it happen.

Photo by Richard Mellinger.

 I have officially gone from a Petty Officer in the United States Navy to a Pin-Up For Vets Ambassador. There was something missing from my life before I started working with Pin-Ups For Vets. I encourage those who haven’t been active in the community to try it.  You never know where the journey could take you.

My purpose in life is to motivate and help others. Putting a smile on a strangers face means the world to me. I’m thankful for being an American, having the support from the worlds best military, Gina Elise and my pin-up squad (you know who you are).

Here’s to a great future for a non-profit that I have confidence in. We will continue expanding and making a difference together. Thank you for taking me on. I salute you!

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Nonprofit Founder Auctions Designer Handbags Won On Queen Latifah Show To Launch Salute To Hospitalized Vets Week

BAGS on TABLELos Angeles, California – February 10, 2014 – Award-winning national nonprofit organization, Pin-Ups For Vets, based in So. California, is known for the annual fundraiser pin-up calendars they produce to improve Veterans healthcare, but this week, to boost awareness of “National Salute To Veterans Patients” week, Founder and pin-up model, Gina Elise, will be auctioning off the designer handbags she won today on the Queen Latifah Show.
On February 10, TV viewers can tune in to the Queen Latifah Show to watch Pin-Up-In-Chief, Gina Elise, as she races back and forth across the stage to grab designer handbags that have each been filled with alphabet blocks, requiring Elise to successfully unscramble and put together the correct answers to four consecutive questions about actor, Morgan Freeman.

Gina Elise, who has posed in several of the Pin-Ups For Vets fundraiser calendar’s 1940’s-style pin-up photos over the past eight years, knew immediately that those beautiful designer handbags placed in front of her on the stage were meant to be used for the hospitalized Veterans that her charity serves.  Elise said, “I was beyond thrilled to be selected as an audience member to participate in this TV show game challenge, but I made up my mind right there, that if I were to win any of those beautiful handbags, that I would auction them off to raise more funds to allow our organization to continue its mission of supporting VA Hospital therapy programs.”

Elise, who makes her 27th hospital visit at the end of this month, to the ill and injured Vets at a West Virginia VA Hospital, will not only be making personal bedside visits and delivering appreciation gifts to each Veteran, but will also be presenting the hospital with brand new equipment that will improve the healthcare of the Veterans at this VA facility.  “My dedicated volunteer calendar girls and I are on a 50-state VA hospital tour where we have already visited over 5,000 ill and injured Veterans to boost morale and show appreciation.  For our volunteers, everyday is Veterans Day,” says Elise.  “With the auctioning of these stunning designer handbags, I hope that I will be able to draw attention to this important week where we honor to our hospitalized Veterans,” said Elise, whose own grandfather served in the Army during WWII and who was the inspiration for the establishment of this nonprofit organization.

The designer handbags, won by Elise on the Queen Latifah Show, are collectively worth a few thousand dollars, and Elise plans to start the bids on her eBay auction at half the retail price of these purses, with the expectation that the excitement of Queen Latifah’s celebrity, as well as the noble cause of supporting hospitalized Veterans, will bring lots of bidders to this auction.

The bags include designs by: Chloe, Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, and Marc by Marc Jacobs.  eBay link below:

Elise added that, as a bonus, she will include an autographed 2014 Pin-Ups For Vets calendar to the highest bidder of each handbag.  “I hope that as people learn about this exciting auction to honor our hospitalized Veterans, that they will be inspired to contact their local VA Hospital Voluntary Services office and consider donating some time to visit with our ill and injured Veterans.”

Pin-Ups For Vets is an award-winning national nonprofit that supports hospitalized Veterans in all 50 states, VA Hospital rehabilitation programs, deployed troops across the globe, homeless Veterans, military spouses, and female Vets entering the workplace.  The charity has received numerous community service awards and has been honored by the deployed troops who have flown 9 U.S. flags over military bases in honor of the work that the organization has done to improve the lives of America’s service members and Vets.
Email: gina@pinupsforvets.com    

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Pin-Ups for Vets & The Dollface Dames Bring Hollywood Glamour To Fundraising

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WWII Style Fundraising Event to be Held at Historic Post 43 Gains Celebrity Support

Los Angeles, CA – In a town that hosts dozens of charity events every weekend, Pin-Ups for Vets is having a different kind of Fundraiser, in partnership with The Dollface Dames and Do Right! Industries, the nonprofit is throwing a WWII-Style party, open to the public and free for Veterans to attend at the Historic American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood on January 25th.

From the moment guests enter the event, they will be treated to something special. “Our goal is to recreate the magic of the Hollywood Canteen that operated during the 1940’s as a club offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas,” says Julia Reed Nichols, Founder of Do Right! Industries and performer with The Dollface Dames. The evening will feature dressed up pin-ups, burlesque dancers, comedy, variety acts, soulful lounge singers, WWII-era celebrity impersonators and raffle-ticket selling “cigarette” girls with items Including Lakers Tickets, $250 in Betty Page Clothing Gift Certificates, and more!   With entertainment & atmosphere around every turn, guests will feel like they stepped into the 1940’s.

Hosted by BD Freeman (VH1 Celebrity Host & Personality and Marine) , the evening will also feature the comedy of The GIs of Comedy (Comedy Central Special airing 2014) and a calendar signing by the models of Pin-Ups for Vets.

Pin-Ups for Vets produces WWII-style pin-up calendars that raise money to support our Troops and Veterans.  With the money they raise the organization provides state-of-the-art rehab equipment to VA hospitals nationwide, ships care packages to support our troops in the combat zone, and they are currently in the middle of a 50-state VA and Military hospital tour where the girls personally deliver our calendars as gifts of appreciation to the ill and injured Veterans at their bedside. The group has been featured on on dozens of news outlets including The Queen Latifah Show, KTLA, Inside Edition and more. Pin-Up Make Up will be provided by Classic Glamour Dolls and “Boss Lady” Ana Vergara.

“The Dollface Dames are thrilled to show their support for the troops and Pin-Ups for Vets”, says CEO of the Dollface Dames Kira Turnage. “Many of us [in the dames], including myself, have family members in the Service and know the sacrifices these men and women make to protect our country. It is nice to be able to show them our appreciation!”

The Dollface Dames are LA’s Theatrical Burlesque Troop. These ladies take burlesque to a whole new level combining theatre, dance, and singing to give you the ultimate enjoyment in every show. With shows all over town these girls have recently been featured in the top 10 Best Troupes for LA Weekly, headlined at Sundance Film Festival Grey Goose Lounge, and performed at some of LA’s Top Venues including the Hollywood Improv. As an added bonus, company costume designer Leandra Watson will be designing dazzling new outfits just for this event as a special surprise for the audience.

In the tradition of the original Hollywood Canteen – this event is garnering attention from celebrities that want to attend the event and show their support of our military men and women. With confirmations coming in every day current celebrities anticipated to attend include Lorenzo Lamas (Leave it to Lamas, Renegade), Bria Murphy (Maxiums Hot 100), Bonnie-Jill Laflin (First & Only Female Scout in the NBA), Leeann Tweeden (Sportscaster), Harvey Walden (VH1 Celebrity Fit Club & Marine),  Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), and Stuart Pankin (The Artist) – just to name a few.

The event starts at 8pm and cost is $20 for Civilians and Free for Veterans. Vintage Attire is encouraged.

Tickets can be found at https://itrulycare.com/events/the-hollywood-cantina-salute-shimmy

For more information on the event please email doright@dorightind.com

MEDIA IS INVITED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT WITH ADVANCE APPROVAL.

Please emails doright@Dorightind.com for credentials.

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