Posted by admin in Wounded Warrior Project on 14-11-2008
Sexy calendar to boost soldiers’ morale overseas
By MARTIN J. KIDSTON – Independent Record – 11/14/08
Service members in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t mind getting old paperback books and snack packs stuffed with crackers and cheese.
These are all good things, but if you really want to make that soldier smile this holiday season, send him a 2009 Girls of Brazil Swimsuit Calendar.
It’s chocked full of bikini-clad beauties rolling in the sand and surf under the South American sun; enough to make a homesick soldier smile.
Shot by amateur photographer Jeremiah Thompson of Missoula and sent overseas with contacts provided by Montana Supporting Soldiers, the calendar is sure to boost morale in remote reaches of the war zone and help support wounded veterans back home.
Described by his marketing company as an online business owner, Thompson is sending 5,000 free calendars to U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Proceeds from further sales will benefit the Wounded Warriors Project.
“He decided to go to Brazil to learn how to surf,” said Terri Braun, director of operations for Dreamy Calendars, based in Missoula. “He found some amazing women who were just everyday ladies, and he decided to make a calendar.”
A 34-year-old Montana guy who speaks neither Portuguese nor Spanish jumps on a plane and makes a 24-hour flight to Brazil to learn how to surf?
And while there, he happens across Florianopolis, a place (according to him) that’s home to the most beautiful women in the world, not to mention sandy beaches, sparkling water and golden sunrises?
“It was too easy,” Thompson wrote in his blog. “I wasn’t paying. I wasn’t a professional photographer. I wasn’t backed by a photography studio. But just about everyone I wanted to shoot photos of agreed to have photos taken.”
Thompson grew up in a military family and saw the service as a worthy cause for this year’s fundraiser.
His marketing managers in Missoula explained that in years past, the group has donated proceeds to the World Wildlife Fund, Susan G. Komen, Toys for Tots, St. Jude’s Hospital and other local causes.
Liann Meyer, founder and director of Montana Supporting Soldiers, based in Helena, was happy to provide Dreamy Calendars the names and contact numbers for the troops she often deals with overseas.
A medical unit, a canine unit and even a chaplain will help get the “Girls of Brazil” into the hands of lonely American soldiers in time for Christmas.
They’re not quite stocking stuffers, but the glossy images make thoughtful gifts nonetheless.
“For a lot of them, it is a morale booster,” Meyer said. “If they don’t feel they want the calendar up, they don’t have to take one. But for a lot of them, it’ll lift their spirits. It’s what my organization does — reminding them that America is thinking of them and supports them.”
A little South American culture is sure to go a long way in the deserts of the Middle East. But the Middle East isn’t America, and Meyer paused to consider the cultural differences and potential sensitivities before agreeing to help get the calendar out.
“When I looked at his Web site and saw the girls in the slide show, I thought I better check with the commanders over in Iraq to see if this would be OK,” said Meyer. “They said as long as everything was covered, it would be fine. They get the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and this isn’t really any different.”
Meyer said the calendars would be distributed to troops in two Afghan units and several units in Iraq. It’s just what Thompson was hoping to hear.
“I guess if my dad wasn’t in the Army, I wouldn’t have been exposed to that lifestyle growing up,” Thompson said. “When they (the service members) look at my calendar, they won’t just see 15 breathtakingly beautiful women, but a reminder of my support for them as they serve in the line of duty.”
To buy a calendar or to view Thompson’s photos, log on to www.girlsofbrazilcalendar.com.
Click here to see the calendar online.