MONTEBELLO–The Armenian Relief Society Western Region marked the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Western regional executive during a dinner banquet Saturday at Baghramian Hall–with community leaders and political officials on hand to mark the momentous occasion.
Present at the gathering were Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee representative John Kossakian–State Assemblyman Scott Wildman–Glendale City Councilmembers Gus Gomez and Rafi Manoukian and ARS benefactors and chapter representatives.
The focus of the evening was the new ARS Center which is under construction–and for which an opening ceremony is planned for July 25.
This announcement–a fitting milestone at the culmination of the ARS Western Region’s 15th year of service–was made by ARS Center Fund director Terry Minassian.
Mistress of Ceremonies Christine Arakelian–in her opening remarks–said that the volume of activity and changing demographic in the region prompted the establishment of a Western Regional Executive 15 years ago–under the auspices of the ARS Central Executive Inc.
Arakelian added that in order for the ARS to provide more enhanced services to the community–the construction of a new center became a necessity. Thus–she explained–the Center Project began. She added that proceeds from all ARS Western Region events would be allocated to the ARS Center Fund.
Assemblyman Wildman also made remarks–commending the ARS for its years of service to the community.
A message from Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian was read and presented by Montebello Parish priest Rev. Khoren Baboshian.
The evening program began with the singing of anthems by Shoushi "Daniel Ghazarian" Music School director Garen Gharibian. Throughout the evening donations were made–as was a drawing for a raffle–with a grand prize of a Toyota Camry. All proceeds will be allocated to the Center Fund–ARS officials announced.
In her remarks–ARS Western Regional Executive chairwoman Helen Keosian stressed the need for the establishment of the Western Region organizational unit–adding that currently some 1,400 ARS members work in the region’s 27 chapters.
As some of the accomplishmen’s of the Western–the assistance provided in the wake of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia and the continued humanitarian relief provided by the region to Armenia was highlighted.
Keosian said that immediately following the earthquake "the Armenian Relief Society put its physical and financial assets at the service of the homeland. In the wake of the disaster and until today–the ARS continues its projects to help the Armenian people in Armenia. In those years–relief efforts by the ARS amounted to $6 million–all donated by our generous community."
Keosian then urged the community to actively get involved in the ARS Center Project and announced the launch of a new social service program and facility called the ARS Counseling Center which is scheduled to be housed on the first floor of the new center.
Speaking on behalf of the ARS Central Executive–Mako Mgrdichian praised the activities of the Western Region ARS and welcomed the completion of the new center.
In conclusion a candle-lighting ceremony was led by Keosian–who lit a large candle and who was followed by the others. Some 25 candle-lighting benefactors took part in the ceremony.