Seasons greetings from Malibu students to Americans stationed in Iraq

William (left) and Joey Rosenthal organize a holiday card drive to send greetings to troops serving in Iraq.

High school student organizes holiday cheer for U.S. troops far from home.

By Vicki Godal/Special to The Malibu Times

This holiday season holds a little surprise for marines from Camp Pendleton deployed in Iraq. They will receive greeting cards from Malibu High School students letting them know they are remembered and appreciated during the holidays here at home. The brainchild of Malibu High School 11th grader Joey Rosenthal, Students for Season’s Greetings will send as many holiday cards as possible to men and women from Camp Pendleton serving in Iraq.

“I thought about having the opportunity to spend every holiday with my family,” Rosenthal said. “These men and women are so far from their own families during the holidays, I just figured they would get a good feeling of support from us if they got these cards during the holiday season.”

Rosenthal discovered that the process of getting cards to the soldiers was a little more difficult than he had anticipated. “The only way to do this was to send all the cards directly to someone in a specific unit in Iraq … because the Defense Department will not accept letters addressed to “Any Soldier in Iraq,” Rosenthal explained. “I selected the Marine 1st Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton because my grandfather served there. Next we got the name and address of Sgt. Major Freed in Iraq who will pass out 2,000 cards. We also got the name of an Army chaplain in Baghdad who can distribute more if we get them.”

Setting up this week during lunch at the Malibu High School quad, Rosenthal and volunteers will write out holiday greetings to the marines. So far, 1,100 holiday cards have been donated, 1,000 by the Blue Mountain Arts card company. Another card company,, donated 100 cards and personalized them by printing “Students for Season’s Greetings from Malibu, CA.” in them. If Rosenthal receives more than 2,000 cards, he wants to send blank holiday cards to the troops as well so they may write holiday wishes back to their own friends and family. Covering the postage costs, Pam Rosenthal, Joey’s mother, plans to mail the holiday cards on Dec. 3 to insure the Marines get their cards in plenty of time for the holidays.

Rosenthal was asked what he would say to one of the holiday greeting card recipients were he given the chance to meet them. Rosenthal responded without hesitation, “We are extremely thankful for your bravery and sacrifices for us overseas. Thank you for leaving your homes to make our homes a safer place.”

So far, Rosenthal and volunteers have filled out about 100 holiday cards. They plan to send out at least 2,000 holiday cards. Joey’s brother, William, a seventh-grader, is coordinating the card project for the middle school.

Card donators can drop off or send cards to the office of Malibu High School at 30215 Morning View Drive, Malibu, CA 90265. Serra Retreat residents can drop off cards next to the Rosenthal’s mailbox at 3226 Serra Rd. (the corner of Serra and Palm Canyon). Cards can be addressed to “Dear Marine” and signed with at least your first name and city. It is requested that cards be left unsealed. More information can be obtained by calling 310.456.7819.