GLENDALE–The Western USA Regional Executive of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) held its annual banquet at Brandview Collection in Glendale on Friday–April 27. The guest of honor was 80 year old ARS member Anelka Gordian–who is currently a member of the ARS Glendale "Sipan" chapter.
Opening remarks were made by Seda Khojayan of the fundraising committee–who presented the guests of the evening. Attending the banquet were Glendale City Councilmen Rafi Manoukian–Frank Quintero–Bob Yousefian; Hagop Hovhannisian of the Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles; Dr. Armine Hacopian of the Glendale Community College School Board; Alice Bedrossian; Armen Roustamian of Armenia’s ARF Executive Council and member of the ARF faction in the Armenian parliament; along with 300 supporters and ARS members. Also present were ANCA-WR Executive Director Alex Sardar and field representative to Assemblymember Dario Frommer–Armond Agakhani.
The opening program included the singing of the national anthems by Hovig Krikorian–accompanied by pianist Armen Aharonian. A blessing was made on behalf of Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian by pastor of the St. Mary’s Armenian Church in Glendale–Priest Ardag Demirdjian.
Mistress of ceremonies Jasik Jarahian spoke of the efforts of the ARS over the past 91 years. Representative of the ARS Regional Fundraising Committee Rose Altounian–in her remarks–affirmed the ARS’s commitment to meet the needs of the Armenian people at all costs. ARS Regional President Maro Chalian Read briefed attendees on the work carried out by the ARS in both Armenia and the West Coast. She gave an overview of the ARS Western Region’s 1400 members–26 chapters–15 Saturday schools–5 social service offices–and psychological center. She also spoke of ARS activities in the homeland–which were first started in response to the 1988 earthquake–and continue till today.
Maro Chalian Read praised ARS member Anelka Gordian for her more than 40 years of involvement with the Armenian Relief Society. A certificate of appreciation was presented to Gordian on behalf of the ARS in recognition of her dedication to the ARS and the Armenian people. Anelka Gordian thanked God for allowing her to live a long and healthy life. She also recognized the role played by the ARS and her relatives in her life. Gordian was a former member of the ARS Montebello "Ani" chapter–and is currently a member of the ARS Glendale "Sipan" chapter. "Come join the large ARS family–because the ARS is sacred–the ARS is subtle–the ARS is illumination," said Anelka Gordian. After cutting her birthday cake–Gordian was presented a letter of appreciation by Armond Agakhani on behalf of Assemblymember Dario Frommer. Also speaking were Gordian’s daughter Hermine Kurchian–her brother Hagop Shirvanian–and Lusik Minassian of the ARS Montebello "Ani" chapter.
A video presentation was featured highlighting the activities of the ARS since its founding 91 years ago. The video was put together by Jasik Jarahian and Bianca Manougian–with narration by Angela Savoyan.
A cultural program followed with a solo dance by Suzi Parseghian-Tarpinian–and songs by Anahid Nercessian and renown tenor Yeghishe Manoucharian–violin by Ashot Yeritsian–and piano by Armen Aharonian.