By Spookie Susie
Veteran’s Day is fast approaching, and in honor of the brave men and women who have defended our freedom since the founding of our country, we’d like to revisit Pin Ups for Soldiers
, a Loganville-based nonprofit which provides care packages to our troops overseas. They’re going to be rockin’ out and looking lovely this Saturday November 12 at the bimonthly Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge with the Pinups for Soldiers Burlesque Show
at The Masquerade
, featuring special guest performer Violet Vixxxen
of Nashville. The show is dedicated to Atlanta’s own Chameleon Queen
‘s father and the squadron he served during the Vietnam War, the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362
, aka the “Ugly Angels.
” Also taking part in the festivities is Sonoramic Commando
, named for the mighty ’61 Plymouth engine, and the one and only Reverend Andy
will be spinning Psychobilly Freakout
and swing dance tunes. We checked back in with Dena Stahl
, aka Avenging Angel
, co-founder of Pinups for Soldiers, to get the briefing on all their latest happenings in addition to re-issuing the original interview for any of those who may have missed it.
Can you give us a quick update on any major happenings with Pin Ups for Soldiers since we last chatted with you?
We now have our 2012 Pinups for Soldiers Charity Calendar in hand and are actively selling those at events and online. For just a $15.00 donation you get a calendar full of beautiful pinups AND you help us send care packages to over 800 troops this holiday season through our Santa for Soldiers initiative. We are currently taking orders for the 2012 calendar via our Facebook page; just look under the SHOP tab. You can purchase a calendar for just $15, and for an additional $10 you can also purchase a calendar as a gift for a soldier and Pinups for Soldiers will ship it to one our units on your behalf. We will have calendars in hand in October. You can also purchase a calendar through donating via our PayPal located on our website; make sure to note “calendar” on your instructions and include your mailing address.
We also have some exciting events coming up in the next couple of months. As you know, we will be at Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge on November 12 to honor all the veterans of our great country. Then on December 10, we will be at Trader Vic’s for a Pearl Harbor Remembrance. We will be selling and signing calendars at both events.
Left to right: Danielle Davis (De De), Danielle Camp (Pretty Polly), Diana Ellison (Sweet Adeline), Dena Stahl (Avenging Angel) at Hell on Wheels Beerfest. Photo Credit: Fresh Eye Photography.
Your next major care package drive is Santa for Soldiers. Can you tell us about that program?
We started Santa for Soldiers last year. We get each soldier a Christmas stocking of their own and fill it with goodies. Anything from necessities like gold bond and sunscreen to fun goodies like playing cards and CD/DVDs. We really depend on the support of the community to help us make this happen and we need to help now more than ever. Last year we sent stockings to just under 200 soldiers. This year we will be sending to over 800! We are asking that our supporters help, either by donating stockings and/or items or by making a donation on our website or Facebook Fan Page. Every dollar makes a difference. It means so much to a soldier to receive something from home, especially during the holiday season when not being home is even harder. It lets them know that they are remembered and appreciated.
What kind of fun shenanigans can we expect at Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge this Saturday?
We are very excited to be involved in this event with Mon Cherie. This will be our first time participating in one of her shows, and we are looking forward to it. Not sure what all Mon Cherie has up her sleeve but we know it will be great! You will just have to come out to the show and see for yourself November 12th!
Pinups for Soldiers co-founder Dena Stahl.
How did you meet photographer Danielle Camp, and what made you two decide to start Pinups for Soldiers?
Danielle and I have been friends for over 18 years. Danielle wanted to do a Pinup shoot and asked if I was interested in helping her build her portfolio. I reached out to my friends for ideas and one of them mentioned that she had always wanted to do a Pinup calendar. It was March 2010 and my husband, SGT Travis Stahl was deployed to Afghanistan serving our country. During his deployment I became aware that there were many soldiers who did not receive care packages from home, Travis began giving items from the care packages I was sending to those soldiers. We decided that if we were going to make a pinup calendar we were going to make it a nonprofit and use it to raise money so that we could send care packages to soldiers stationed overseas.
Tell us about having your husband deployed.
Having a husband deployed is one of the hardest things I have ever been through. A year of sleepless nights waiting on a phone call, email or text to confirm he is okay, the constant worry and not knowing where he is or what is going on, the fear that enters your body any time there is a knock on the front door, the empty spot in the bed beside me, handling everything on the homefront on my own…is all very hard. However, I am honored to be a soldier’s wife. He is my husband, my hero, and his dedication to not only me and our family, but to our amazing country, makes me so proud.
How many units does PUFS help? Do you have a most memorable request for assistance?
Currently we are supporting three units totaling almost 200. The units are stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. We have a unit that is about to deploy, bringing us to almost 600! We are always touched when we receive emails from soldiers. For me, they are all memorable. The requests we get range from necessities to soldiers wanting pictures. Our motto is “Brightening Lives Protecting Ours,” and that is our mission and we take it to heart. We feel as if the American Soldier is a true patriot and should be honored and appreciated. We want them all to know that they are not forgotten.
What is your favorite reaction to the receipt of a PUFS care package?
We LOVE to get pictures from units we support and emails letting us know we did make a difference and put a smile on their face!
We heard the exciting news that renowned modern day pinup model, Bernie Dexter, is participating in the 2012 calendar. How did she become involved?
My husband, SGT Travis Stahl a bronze star recipient who proudly serves our country as a Combat Medic in the United States Army emailed the wonderful Bernie Dexter and introduced her to Pinups for Soldiers (PUFS). Bernie’s father served in the United States Navy. Bernie Dexter is a gem and you won’t find a better person in the pinup world or otherwise. We cannot articulate how over the moon we are about her involvement and support.
Are any of your calendar girls in the armed forces themselves?
Glad you asked this question. Yes, we have a member of the United States Army, Miss Sweet Adeline in the 2012 Calendar. She inspires me. Not only does she serve our country with great honor but she also makes the time and gives so much back to her peers. We are blessed to have her as a part of the PUFS family but also as a friend.
You held a Motorcycle Poker Run this summer to help raise funds for the troops and a Memorial Ride for 9/11. Do you have a strong supporter base in the biker community?
We also included the Mini Cooper community in the run. We have found that the biker community has a very heavy veteran presence and proud Americans in general who stay active in the community. The American Legion has been a wonderful support system for us; they will be the first and last stop on this run. The Poker Run was September 10 at the American Legion Post 127 located in Buford, GA.
What can interested girls do to be considered for the 2013 calendar?
We always want to make it clear that we are a volunteer-based organization, and philanthropy to the soldiers is our number one priority. Being in the calendar is a side bar to the main goal. Girls must first volunteer their time to the cause prior to being considered for the calendar. We will be holding a casting call for the 2013 calendar in January once we have wrapped up all our efforts and events for the 2012 calendar.
All photos courtesy of Pinups for Soldiers.