GLENDALE–Hundreds gathered at the Glendale Hilton on March 13 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Western Region. The event’s sponsor was Dr. Alber Karamanoukian–president of St. Mary’s Adult Day Health Care center in Glendale.
A large circle of ARS members–friends–and supporters were present to honor and celebrate the ARS Western Region’s two decades long contribution to the community and the homeland. Honored guests included Armenia’s Consul General in Los Angeles Gagik Kirakossian–representatives of the ARF West Central Committee–The ARS Central Executive (CE)–sister organizations–as well as elected officials.
Soprano Anahid Nersisian–along with pianist Armen Aharonian–performed the national anthems of the United States and the Republic of Armenia–followed by the ARS anthem.
Opening remarks were presented by the chairwoman of the Twentieth Anniversary committee Sonia Peltekian–who also served as the evening’s emcee.
Blessings were offered by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
The Armenian Women’s Traditional Instrument Ensemble–conducted by Roupen Haroutunian–presented a sampling of beautiful Armenian melodies.
The Regional Executive’s remarks were delivered in English by chairwoman Nova Hindoyan–who introduced the philanthropic activities undertaken by the region throughout the years–and outlined current and future programs. Presenting the ARS CE’s message–Anahid Meymarian briefly presented ARS International’s activities both in the homeland and the Diaspora. The ARF CC’s message was delivered by Vahe Bozoian.
Glendale Mayor offered warm remarks and presented Glendale City Council’s Certificate of Achievement to the ARS Western Region for its community contribution.
Chairman of the Armenian National Committee-Western Region Board of Directors Raffi Hamparian conveyed the ARS certificates of accomplishment from California Assemblymember Dario Frommer–State Senator Jack Scott–and Los Angeles Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
US Congressman Adam Schiff personally delivered a Congressional Certificate of Appreciation to the ARS–and presented heartfelt remarks.
Keynote speaker from Canada ARS member Professor Chake Der Melkonian-Minassian recounted the days of establishing and structuring the ARS Western Region.
Numerous guests and ARS members participated in the candle lighting ceremony–followed by the symbolic cutting of the cake by the day’s sponsor and consistent ARS benefactor Dr. Alber Karamounkian–a cherished member of the Armenian community who has always stood ready to provide financial support to organizations and projects–specifically assisting the schools and hospitals of Ghapan.
Closing remarks and blessing were given by Archbishop Mardirossian who applauded the ARS–and explained the symbolism behind its emblem.
The celebrations ended with the announcement of a unique donation by the Der Hovanesian and Hindoyan families–the children of longtime Pasadena ARS member Nvart Der Hovhanesian and husband Goriun. An ARS regional office will be dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Der Hovhanesian.