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Monday, January 07, 2008

Vets Profit from Perky Pageturner 

Posted by Sasha at 8:39 PM ET

Proceeds of the WWII pinup girl calendar benefit service members of the armed forces.
San Diego Veterans News
January 4, 2008

San Diegan Tonya Helman and a group of former NFL cheerleaders pose for patriots in the 2008 “Sweethearts for Soldiers” calendar. The WWII pinup girl calendar was released for purchase through www.soldiersrus.org just in time for the New Year, raising more than $3,000 since Tuesday. Proceeds from the second annual calendar will help the nonprofit Soldiers-R-U.S. send more than 150,000 calendars and “Freedom Helmet” care packages overseas to boost service members morale.

The calendar features 12 former NFL cheerleaders in classic pinup poses. All of the models have a personal tie to the military and some a connection to San Diego. Helman, a 28-year-old former Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins cheerleader who resides in Ocean Beach, was touring overseas in Bahrain when she met her husband, Petty Officer First Class Cory Helman, a Navy search and rescue swimmer. She was married to Cory for almost four years before he was killed last January, when his MH-60S Helicopter went down off San Clemente Island during routine exercises. Tonya participated as Miss December in the 2007 calendar and posed again this year as Miss April.

Military brat Brianne Beaty (Miss January), a former San Diego Chargers cheerleader and San Diego State University graduate, is thrilled to give back to her country. She is also a country singer and songwriter who has seen three generations of men in her family serve in the armed forces. Courtney Giordano (Miss June) is a former Washington Redskins cheerleader who graduated from the UC San Diego. She is now working on her Masters of Arts degree in history at San Diego State.

The idea of a military-themed calendar to benefit service members was conceived by two former cheerleaders of the Arizona Cardinals, Bari Yonkers and Kalani McClain, while on a USO tour in the Middle East. After discussing the concept with their teammates, they partnered with former soldier Benjamin Moline, founder and chairperson of Soldiers-R-U.S. Moline felt compelled to get involved in the project as a way of giving back to fellow members of the armed forces.

Arizona businesses and individuals sponsored the calendar, which was photographed over Veterans Day weekend. More than 2,000 calendars were sent overseas on Dec. 1, along with “Freedom Helmet” care packages, which included personal hygiene items and specialty items. To sweeten a service member’s New Year with a sweetheart calendar or to help Solders-R-U.S. send care packages, click here.
–Erin Murphy

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