More than 500 guests and members weathered the severe rains on Sunday to attend a special celebration at the Homenetmen Ararat Hall, marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Relief Society Western USA.
The official guests included Western Prelate Bishop Torkom Donoyan; the former Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; the Catholic Exarchate of U.S. Bishop Michael Mouradian; the head of the Armenian Evangelical Church Pastor Henrik Shahnazarian; ARS Central Executive Chair, Arusiak Melkonian and members, Ani Keshishian and Jaremen Mirzakhanian; ARF Western U.S. Central Committee chair, Avo Kechichian; representatives of elected officials; donors and supporters; as well as current and former ARS Regional Executive members.
To honor ARS members who had served the organization for 40 years and more, the ARS Regional Executive had organized a special ceremony, during which the honorees received a plaque and a memento with ARS emblem.
Following the honoring ceremony and reception, the official program kicked off with welcoming remarks delivered by Mistress of Ceremonies Preny Alaverdian. The U.S. and Armenian national anthems were performed by the students of the ARS Saturday Schools. Singer Berj Kirazian them performed the Artsakh and ARS anthems.
In his address to the attendees, Western Prelate Bishop Donoyan congratulated ARS members, donors and supporters, emphasizing the importance of their dedicated service.
In her remarks, ARS Western USA Regional Executive chair Vicky Marashlian thanked the thousands of ARS members in the region for their unwavering service and lifelong commitment.
“With 40 years of serving the people as its main goal and principles, the ARS Western Region is that organization whose helping hands have reached from the Western U.S. to Armenia, Artsakh, Lebanon, Syria, Javakhk and all over the world, blessing countless hearts,” said Marashlian in her remarks.
Melkonian, the ARS Central Executive chair, also offered her congratulations on this milestone, emphasizing the ARS’ role in preserving national identity and assisting Armenians through its programs.
She called on those gathered to remain faithful to the sacred mission of the ARS and continue to realize its goals with conviction and determination, believe in the strengthening of the homeland and Artsakh’s victory.
The evening’s program continued with musical renditions by the Sonata music school percussion ensemble and the Lernazang national chorus, following which singer Razmig Baghdasarian capped off the event with a resounding performance.
The history of the ARS Western U.S. is an inseparable part of the contemporary history of the Armenian nation, and will continue its service in the homeland and Diaspora with its motto of “With the People, For the People.”