Warrior Gateway & Pin-Ups For Vets Auctioning Off 2012 VW Beetle

“21st Century Calendar Girl Auctions Off 21st Century Beetle To Support Veterans”

Los Angeles, CA – Pin-Ups For Vets and Warrior Gateway have joined forces to raise money for hospitalized Veterans by auctioning off a 2012 VW Beetle given away during Oprah’s final “Favorite Things” show. Inspired by the romance of bygone eras, especially the 1940’s, Gina Elise the 21st Century pin-up girl draws inspiration from the World War II pin-up girls, whose photos and paintings boosted moral for service members fighting overseas.

Starting at 9am PDT on October 17th, interested supporters can bid on the 2012 VW Beetle on eBay Auction.

All proceeds from the sale will be donated to Pin-Ups For Vets, a California registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, that works to improve the quality of life for hospitalized Veterans across the U.S.A. The highest bidder will also get an autographed copy of the 2012 Pin-Ups For Vets calendar in addition to bringing home this special 2012 VW Beetle with a special boxed gift key from Oprah’s “Favorite Things” show.

“We are honored that Pin-Ups For Vets has asked us to join this auction to raise funds for our Veterans” said Devin B. Holmes, CEO of Warrior Gateway. “From providing funding for equipment for spinal cord injury patients in Salt Lake City to supporting the Armed Services YMCA in San Diego, Gina is an example of how one person can impact the Veterans community and is role model for all those who want to know how to give back.”

“I am excited to partner with Warrior Gateway” said Gina Elise, Founder and CEO of Pin-Ups For Vets. “Veterans and their families need better ways to find and connect with support organizations in their local community and Warrior Gateway provides this valuable and free service for them. Our partnership showshow community collaboration is one of the cornerstones to successfully changing how Veterans are supported.”

About Pin-Ups For Vets: Gina Elise, Founder and CEO, has been dubbed the “Calendar Angel”and “The Betty Grable for a new generation” by today’s active duty service members. She is the creator and model in the “Pin-Ups For Vets” calendar fundraiser that supports America’s hospitalized Veterans and recovering troops. In addition to raising funds to support Veterans’ healthcare programs, Gina has made countless personal bedside visits to ill and injured patients in VA and military hospitals across the U.S. and the globe, where she delivers her nostalgic pin-up calendars and posters that are donated by the public. Gina’s nostalgic pin-up calendar draws attention to Veterans’ healthcare, while at the same time honoring the four-year military service of her late grandfather. In 2009, The “Los Angeles Business Journal” and its members honored Gina Elise as “VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR” at their annual “Women Making A Difference”awards ceremony. Pin-Ups For Vets has donated $50,000 to date to expand physical, cognitive, and occupational rehabilitation programs for V.A. and Military hospitals nationwide. Visit the website, www.pinupsforvets.com.

About Warrior Gateway: Founded in 2009, Warrior Gateway connects individuals in the military community with organizations and programs (non-profit, government, educational or employment-related) in their neighborhood that are there to support them. Led by CEO, Devin B.Holmes, Warrior Gateway harnesses state-of-the art technology and community collaboration to help today’s Veterans make better decisions about what service providers they can go to for help, and have a public forum to share their experiences about the quality and effectiveness of those services. This innovation was recognized when Federal Computer Week honored Devin B.Holmes with a Federal 100 award for significant contributions to the Federal IT community. For more information, please visit: www.warriorgateway.org.

Staging a Theater of War

David Strathairn, Gloria Reuben and Jeffrey Wright read at a Theater of War event. Photo courtesy of the New York Times

This article from the Washington Examiner states that some starpower is being added to the Theater of War Project. Theater of War is a program that stages theatrical productions–specifically those that focus on the plight of returning warriors, like Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes–to an audience of recent veterans, which then spurs dialogue on issues surrounding physical and psychological battle-induced wounds.

Plays like Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes read like textbook descriptions of wounded warriors, struggling under the weight of psychological and physical injuries to maintain their dignity, identity, and honor. Given this context, it seemed natural that military audiences today might have something to teach us about the impulses behind these ancient stories. It also seemed like these ancient stories would have something important and relevant to say to military audiences.

As the Examiner states, TV actors Isiah Whitlock (“The Wire”) and Tamara Tunie (“Law and Order: SVU”) and Broadway actors Francoise Battiste and Bill Camp will be joining the project to perform to military audiences, on the Theater of War tour. Performances include one today at Walter Reed and one yesterday at a Marine Corps facility in Arlington, VA.

You can read the Examiner article here. The New York Times also did a great piece on the project a few months ago; read it here.

For the Veteran, By a Veteran

Minnesota NPR has a good story on Michael Mills, a member of the Minnesota National Guard who has become a local voice for the issues faced by returning OEF/OIF veterans. Mills served in Iraq, where his convoy was struck by a roadside bomb, causing him to sustain several broken bones and third degree burns on much of his body. He came back angry and depressed, but eventually came to terms with his experiences through the help of his family and a psychiatrist.

Michael Mills (right) poses with fellow veterans Jeff Butler and Bruce Billington. Photo courtesy of MPR

Michael Mills (right) poses with fellow veterans Jeff Butler and Bruce Billington. Photo courtesy of MPR

And now he’s seeking to help other veterans going through issues similar to his own. He runs a website called For the Veteran, By a Veteran, which tells his story and provides some resources for medically discharged veterans.

“I started For the Veteran for a couple of reasons but the main reason is I got tired of losing my friends to suicide,” said Mills, who fears that many vets are killing themselves because they first turn to drugs and alcohol.

Because many veterans may be ashamed to ask for help, for a Veteran aims to inform them about available government and private services.

Mills also sits on the board of Project New Hope, an organization which holds retreats for members of the military community, covering topics like money management, navigating VA resources, and anger management. The program is unique in its inclusion of a veteran’s entire family. “The VA is only able to help the soldier,” said Bruce Billington of Cross Lake, who founded Project New Hope. “We help the entire family. We try to provide resources that the VA is unable to give.” Project New Hope began in Minnesota but now hosts retreats in New York, Wisconsin, and even Canada, in addition to several locations in Minnesota.

“When I first joined the military and before me and even up till now, you’re told, ‘if you’re not bleeding, you’re not hurt,’ ” Mills said. “And that’s not really true because there is pain without the blood. There is mental pain, especially being in a combat zone.”