Student Organizes Christmas Card Signing for Troops

Cards being signed on board the USS Iowa in San Pedro

While many Americans will be spending time with family and enjoying a meal together, the holidays for U.S. troops overseas will be spent away from home.

That fact inspired college student Cesar Olvera, 19, to do something to bring the holiday season to servicemembers across the world. Last year, Olvera was able to get 700 Christmas cards signed by the community and sent to troops overseas.

This year, Olvera is on board the USS Iowa, docked in the LA harbor in San Pedro, and he’s got about 1600 cards signed and ready to be sent to to military men and women.

"They're away from home, I haven't been to my home in Mexico for a lot of years, so I know what it's kinda like to be away for a long time," said Olvera, who came to America when he was 13.

Andrew Loutzenhiser, 11, signed a card on Tuesday, thanking military members for their service.

"I just said...I hope they have a great time because I know they’re missing their families and all their friends," Loutzenhiser said.

George Camisa, a Navy veteran who served during the Korean War, said he wished had something like this when he was in the service.

"But we did have a mail ship that came alongside, and whether you were an enlisted man or an officer, once that mail bag came across on the high line, it was like a bunch of hungry dogs after a meat cart," Camisa said.

The last day to come and sign a card is Dec. 6, where the USS Iowa will remain open every day except Thanksgiving.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated the last day to sign a card was Dec. 16, but that day is Dec. 6.

Contact Us