GLENDALE–The 27th annual Homenetmen Navasartian Games were kicked off Sunday during opening ceremonies at the newly constructed facility of the Glendale Ararat chapter with hundreds of participants–community members and Homenetmen’supporters on hand to witness the ceremonial lighting of the Navasartian torch.
The festivities began at 4 p.m. Sunday during a reception at the Ararat center–at which time a video chronicling the activities of the Homenetmen was presented.
The ceremony began with a procession of scouts and athletes–headed by the Homenetmen Western Region marching band that guided the group into the gymnasium and escorted the athletes who were carrying the Navasartian torch from Glendale’s St. Mary’s church.
Master of Ceremonies Raffi Ispendjian welcomed the community and introduced the officials present at the ceremony–among them Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Rev. Hrant Yeretsian–Homenetmen Central Committee member Koko Balian–Homenetmen Regional Executive chairman Manuel Marcelian–Glendale City councilmen Dave Weaver and Frank Quintero–Glendale Unified School District Board member Greg Krikorian–Glendale Community College Board member Dr. Armine Hacopian–Asbarez editor Vatche Proodian–Armenian Relief Society Western Regional Executive chairperson Sona Peltekian and fellow board members Haguhi Seropian and Angela Savoyan–as well as past "exemplary" Homenetmen members.
Following the torch lighting ceremony–Los Angeles chapter member Bedig Sarkissian administered the athlete’s oath to more than 3,000 athletes who will take part in the upcoming Navasartian competition.
The Homenetmen Regional Executive message was presented by Steve Artinian–who highlighted the important accomplishmen’s of the organization–among the premiere of Homenetmen’s own weekly television program–which began airing Sunday on Armenian Cable Television–Channel 55.
Homenetmen Regional Executive chairman Manuel Marcelian surprised the crowd and announced that this year’s honorary chairman of the Navasartian Games would be veteran Homenetmen member and a founder and leader of the organization’s Salt Lake City–Utah "Spitak" chapter Albert Shahinian.
An emotional Shahinian thanked the Regional Executive and announced that he will accept the honor of chairing this year’s games in memory of his wife and a long-time Homenetmen activist Astghig Shahinian.