FRESNO–The Armenian National Committee of Central California honored Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)–Chairman of the Congressional Armenian Caucus–at a banquet–Sunday April 11th–in Fresno.
More than 325 Fresno area Armenian-Americans–elected officials–and other dignitaries gathered at the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church social hall to honor the Chairman of the Congressional Armenian Caucus. Special guests and elected officials in attendance included 29th District Assemblyman–Mike Briggs and his wife Robin; Fresno Supervisor–Deran Koligian and his wife Mimi; Fresno Councilmembers Henry Perea–Garry Bredefeld–Dan Ronquillo and Tom Boyajian; Fresno State Provost–Dr. Michael Ortiz; Community Hospitals CEO–Dr. Phil Hinton; Fresno Business Council Executive Director–Deborah Nankivell; Armenian Community School of Fresno Principal–Seth Atamian; ARF Western Region Central Committee member–Viken Yepremian; FSU Armenian Studies Program Director–Dr. Dickran Koumyjian; and FSU Student Body President–David Emerzian. The banquet–was covered by the Fox and NBC Television affiliates along with the Fresno Horizon station.
Congressman Pallone–who has been a strong supporter of Armenian issues in the House of Representatives–has the led the fight on the preservation of ban on aid to Azerbaijan–cutting aid to Turkey–earmarking more aid to Armenia and Karabakh–and calling on the Turkish and American governmen’s to recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
The Master of Ceremonies for the banquet was Steve Samuelian. Samuelian introduced the head table and made his welcoming remarks to kick off the program. Father Vahan Gosdanian–of the Holy Trinity Church–delivered the invocation and blessed Frank Pallone for his hard work on behalf of the Armenian community. Following the invocation the American and Armenian national anthems were performed by Fresno community activist–Hygo Ohannessian.
Next–Samuelian introduced ANC Central California Chairman–Richard Darmanian. Darmanian thanked the community for gathering to honor one of the greatest activists of the Armenian Cause in the House of Representatives. After a break for lunch the LARK Folk Ensemble–from Los Angeles–entertained the guests with authentic Armenian music and nationalistic songs.
After the entertainment–Samuelian introduced the Director of Development of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region–Ara Bedrosian. Bedrosian addressed the attendees and gave the Hai Tahd report. He pointed out the accomplishmen’s of Man of the Year–Frank Pallone–and characterized him as a true friend of the community and a soldier of Hai Tahd. Furthermore–Bedrosian spoke of the cancellation of the President Aliyev visit to Los Angeles–because of the diligence and voice of the Armenian community. "We should look within our souls for the eternal flame of Hai Tahd. When we are able to do that we can mobilize an indestructible force," commented Bedrosian.
Next the Chairman of the ARF Tehlirian Gomideh–Meher Chekerdemian–passed on the remarks of the ARF by praising the work of Congressman Pallone–and assured the guests that with the help of exemplary officials like Pallone more good things will come in the future. Following those remarks–ANC Central California Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Banquet committee–Berj Apkarian introduced the 1999 Man of the Year–Congressman Frank Pallone.
After the introduction–ANC Central California Chairman Richard Darmanian–was invited to the podium to present Congressman Pallone with the "Man of the Year" award. Darmanian presented a plaque inscribed to Congressman Frank Pallone–as ANC Central California’s 1999 "Man of the Year," after which Pallone took the podium.
Congressman Pallone sincerely thanked the ANC for honoring him and proceeded to give his report on the status of the key Armenian issues in Congress. Pallone explained the activities of the Congressional Armenian Caucus and discussed Section 907–aid to Armenian and Karabakh–cutting aid to Turkey and sanctioning them for not accepting the Genocide–and the Silk Road bill.
The hosts of the banquet–Mr. & Mrs. Ed Kashian and the Sahatdjian families–were recognized for their support for the community and the ANC. The event sponsors included Harold & Elizabeth Manselian–Dr. & Mrs. Ara Soghomonian–Vatche Soghomonian–and Dr. Jane Kardashian. Supporters of the Man of the Year Banquet were the Armenian Relief Society ‘Mother’ and ‘Sophia’ Chapters–the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church–Darryl Hanoian of Val-Print–Martha Jamushian–Mr. & Mrs. Alex Koundakjian–and Robert & Jackie Manselian.
Special thanks were extended to the banquet committee for their hard work and dedication in organizing a wonderful and successful event. The members of the committee were Berj Apkarian (Chairman)–Steve Samuelian (Vice-Chairman)–Lisa Bardizbanian–Neshan Der-Kaloustian–Paul Jamushian–Anne Kevorkian–Serpouhie Messerlian–Hygo Ohannessian–Houry Samuelian–Gracie Yepremian–and Vicken Yepremian.