Marine, Alex Minsky, on the Red Carpet at the ESPY’s in a suit custom designed by Sailor, Troy McSwain.
Pin-Up In Chief, Gina Elise, is founder of Pin-Ups For Vets, an award-winning nonprofit that produces a yearly pin-up fundraiser calendar, to support hospitalized Vets, VA Hospitals, deployed troops, homeless Vets, and military spouses.
Elise believes in the power of fate and that those who cross your path in life are put there for a reason. In 2012, Elise was selected as a social entrepreneur finalist at the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards event sponsored by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at California State University San Bernardino. It was at that event, that Elise met another local entrepreneur finalist, Troy McSwain, who had founded a business to design custom clothing for athletes, entertainers, and those in the media. Elise tucked away McSwain’s business card into her sizeable rolodex, not quite knowing when or if she would contact him in the future.
That opportunity to contact businessman McSwain came just one year later when wounded Marine Veteran, Alex Minsky, reached out to Elise to find out if she knew anyone who could help him find a suit for the July 18 ESPY Awards Show in Los Angeles. Minsky, who had overcome a severe head injury, burns, and a leg amputation, had become an overnight celebrity when a photographer spotted his finely chiseled body in a gym. The subsequent photos taken of Minsky and uploaded onto the internet went viral. An underwear company approached him to model their line of underwear. After making the rounds of the biggest talk shows on TV and appearing in popular magazines, Elise contacted Minsky to do an interview with her on a web series that she co-hosts called, “Release Authority”. As a result of all of his continuing media exposure, Minsky landed a sweet invite to the ESPY Awards. And he needed a suit right away to walk the red carpet with his Dad. He reached out to Gina Elise for help.
Elise went into her card file of contacts to find Troy McSwain’s phone number to see if he would make her new friend, Alex Minsky, a custom suit that he could wear on the red carpet. Minsky’s story touched Navy Veteran, McSwain, who immediately drove from the Inland Empire to meet Minsky at his home in Orange County. McSwain took the measurements and proceeded to design a beautiful custom suit that Minsky wore at the ESPY’s on July 18.
McSwain decided to make this suit as a gift to Minksy who had overcome so much. McSwain, too, had also overcome a lot. He had grown up in a depressed urban community with little knowledge of starting a business. He also had to overcome many challenges in his life, much like Minsky.
When Elise later asked Navy Veteran McSwain, why he decided to reach out and make this generous gesture to Marine Veteran Minsky, he answered: “There are a few reasons that drove me to make the suit for Alex. Everything seemed to be in alignment for us to meet. His story is much like mine. For the past few years my designer business was dead and flat. I had just decided to proceed to re-invent myself and my business, with the aid of my two sons to carry on the torch. So in a way, Alex’s strong will to get better and change his life was inspiring to me to not give up. The last few years I have been selling cars, and my son was just filling orders from previous clients, but now I am on a new mission!”
With another “mission accomplished” for her beloved Veterans, Pin-Ups For Vets Pin-Up In Chief, Gina Elise moves on to begin work to produce her organization’s 8th annual pin-up fundraiser calendar that will be sold in 2014 to benefit hospitalized Veterans and deployed troops.Share This: