FRESNO—The Armenian Relief Society of Western U.S., Fresno “Sophia” Chapter celebrated its 60th Anniversary with a gala on December 15, 2012 that was held at the Grand Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Fresno. There were over 350 guests present, including many chapter members and their families, friends, and supporters.
The Master of Ceremonies, Hagop Ohanessian, opened the program and invited Shoghig Papoyan to sing the U.S. and Armenia national anthems, as well as the ARS anthem. After Fr. Vahan Gosdanian blessed the tables, an impressive candle lighting ceremony followed, as a slide show presented the names of the original founders and a photograph of the founders.
Chapter Chairperson Nazik Arisian noted during her welcoming remarks that the 60th Anniversary was quite an accomplishment, but that the organization is still young with many aims yet to accomplish. One of the accomplishments for this year was the establishment of the ARS Sophia Chapter Saturday Armenian School, which had been a long time dream.
Arisian was followed by ARS Central Executive Board member Rosie Bedrossian, who remarked that the ARS will continue to provide assistance and meet the needs of the Armenian people throughout the world. She informed the audience that the current focus is providing aid to the Armenians in Syria.
ARS of Western USA, Regional Executive Chairperson Lena Bozoyan followed. She congratulated the ARS Sophia Chapter and commended the members for all their efforts. Bozoyan wished for continued success for all future endeavors and presented a commemorative plaque for the chapter to Chaiperson Nazik Arisian.
Artist Hasmik Kldjian presented the ARS Sophia Chapter a unique three-dimensional rendition of the ARS emblem. Not only did the ARS member from the Hollywood Chapter gift this wonderful piece of artwork, she was also present with her family.
Many members took part in putting this gala together under the leadership of co-chairs Vicky Kataroyan, Anoush Chamlian and Rozine Bedoyan.
The audience was treated to a fashion show displaying over 40 Armenian costumes, under the direction of co-chair, Anoush Chamlian. These were very special costumes that were created many years ago by the ARS Sophia Chapter and at the time were modeled by many of the members. During this fashion show, which was only the third time these costumes have been shown in Fresno, many of them were worn by the children and grandchildren of the same members who originally wore them. Anoush Chamlian’s daughter, Ketty Massengale, presented the costumes as she had done the previous time the costumes were modeled.
Co-chair Vicky Kataroyan thanked and expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all the attendees, sponsors, supporters and contributors in making this event possible. She also recognized and commended the Gala Committee members and the general membership for their hard work, encouragement, and dedication in making this event a very successful one.
Kataroyan presented a special appreciation gift to a long time dedicated and exemplary member Anoush Chamlian for caring and maintaining the Armenian costumes for decades and dedicating countless hours with her costume committee for putting such an elegant and wonderful show once again.
Nazik Arisian introduced Larissa Abrahamian, Nazik Kotcholosian-Messerlian, Sima Kaprielian-Liege, the three of the original six founders, and thanked them for being present at the gala.
This grand celebration continued as the guests took to the dance floor and enjoyed the music. The event evoked many memories, as past accomplishments were appreciated and members as well as supporters showed their determination to help accomplish new dreams in the future.