Full of tradition and emotion, opening of newly constructed Center attracts past and present Homenetmen leaders, members, elected officials, sister organizations and supporters
Homenetmen pulled all stops in organizing the opening ceremony of its new Western U.S. headquarters in Eagle Rock. More than 300 guests attended this historic and memorable event.
Amongt the guests were Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Homenetmen Central Committee Vice Chairman Koko Balian, Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar, members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee, Koko Topalian, Harout Donoyan and Harout Manoukian, representatives of the Armenian National Committee WR, representatives of the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Hamazkayin WR, Nerses Melkonian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Rev. Vasken Atmajian of St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church, representatives from various community organizations, Building Founding Members, Navasartian Honorary Presidents, Homenetmen Exemplary Members, Homenetmen Chapter leaders, members, scouts, athletes, supporters and friends.
Regional Scout Leader K Taleen Hidoyan announced the start of the program followed by a traditional flag ceremony performed by the Homenetmen Color Guards and accompanied by more than 60 chapter scouts. Regional Scouting Representative Y Pierre Manougian said, “Our scouts were eager to take part in this very special ceremony.”
The Regional Marching Band performed the American, Armenian and Homenetmen anthems. Master of ceremony Viggen Davidian in his welcoming remarks talked about the vision that was shared by so many in Homenetmen. He than gave the audience a description of the building and all its features. He concluded by saying “be happy, be proud.” Other speakers included Harout Manougian of the ARF Central Committee and Unger Harout praised the Homenetmen Regional Executive and its chapters for its recent accomplishments. Koko Balian, Homenetmen Central Vice Chairman continued with his comments and remembered two Homenetmen members, Kerop Arakelian and Jerair Boyadjian. Two members that played an instrumental roll in Homenetmens early successes in the Western U.S.A. Los Angeles, Councilmember Jose Huizar presented Homenetmen with a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles. In his remarks, he welcomed Homenetmen to Eagle Rock and proceeded to talk about the importance of serving the youth. He praised Homenetmen for it’s mission and pledged his support.
Chairman of the Homenetmen Regional Executive Committee accepted the proclamation and addressed the audience,
“Another Homenetmen dream is realized.” The last few years have been historic for Homenetmen in the Western USA. With the purchase of the first Homenetmen camp in the Diaspora, Homenetmen Camp Tecuya and along with the opening of our second Glendale “Ararat” Chapter athletic facility and the opening of the new Homenetmen “Azadamard” athletic center in Pasadena, this building feels like icing on the cake. But Homenetmen is not done yet, The Los Angeles chapter is months away from opening its new doors at the new Armenian Center in Hollywood’s Little Armenia. In addition, there are other chapters currently engaged in serious discussions regarding obtaining facilities to better serve their members and our community. To say these are historic times for our organization is an understatement.
It’s been said that the value of an organization is based on the number of lives it has touched. For almost a century Homenetmen has touched millions of lives all over the globe. Homenetmen is part of our pop culture; Homenetmen has engaged and involved generations of youth, Homenetmen empowers, educates and elevates. The number of volunteer hours that’s put in by its very talented and young scout and athletic leaders is unbelievable and then there are its chapter leaders, volunteers and parent. “The unselfish efforts of our volunteers is what makes this big machine run and we salute them all” said Artinian.
Another very important component to Homenetmens success is its donors. Their unwavering support cannot be measured by any stretch of the imagination. Homenetmen would not have all that it has without the generosity and support of its donors.
Artinian continued with “As we officially open our new center, I would like to acknowledge the countless number of building, construction and fund raising committees and all of the individuals who dedicated their time, talents, energy and experience and made this state of the art Homentmen Center a reality. The names are to many to mention. Words alone cannot describe the value of their contribution.”
Adding that this dream could not be possible without the initial contributions of its founding members our donors. In 1988 benefactor Mr. Kirk Kerkorian made a major contribution to Homenetmen and along with the contributions of a 119 Homenetmen center-founding members the Homenetmen Regional Executive was able to purchase its first building on Jackson Street in downtown Glendale. However as the community grew so did Homenetmen. “It eventually became apparent that we needed a larger facility to meet our growing needs” commented former Regional chairman and master of ceremonies Viggen Davidian.
About five years ago, Homenetmen made a bold move during a good real estate market and sold it’s building on Jackson Street with the intensions of reinvesting into as larger building. “Three years ago after an intense search, we found our new home here in Eagle Rock, CA.” said Artinian. “After months of negotiations we became the proud owner of this beautiful building.” While under construction, in an effort to better manage its operating expenses the regional executive along with staff moved into a temporary office space in the building. Today the operation officially moves into its permanent office space, mission accomplished!
Hovsep Boyadjian, Chairman of the building construction committee and wife Elizabeth proudly stood by as he watched his committees efforts come to fruition. Fred Khachigian, member of the building construction committee who was involved in this project from the beginning also stood by humbly taking it all in. Artinian than acknowledged it’s architectural and construction firm, Urban development and infrastructure. “They went beyond the call of duty, while paying meticulous attention to function and detail.” Apelinc donated the beautiful landscaping, which brought the project all together.
Artinian thanked the Homenetmen regional staff, for their patience during the construction process. “You are all truly special and your service to your community does not go unrecognized.” He thanked the last 4 regional executive committees for their courage and bold decision-making. “We went from a 2200 square foot building into an 8500-foot facility. That’s what makes this move so right.”
Anticipation grew as the time came to announce the room dedications. Room dedications bring substance to our building because those individuals that we honor by naming a room after them, have all contributed to this organization in their own special way. “Their names will be imbedded in Homenetmens history.” said Regional Executive Committee member Thomas Tokmajian.
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian took the podium, delivered his spiritual message, and began the blessing of the building and room ribbon cutting dedications. Rev. Vasken Atmajian accompanied Archbishop Mardirossian in the blessings. The dedications were as follows:
Regional Chairman Steve Artinian, accompanied by Central Vice Chairman and Councilmember Jose Huizar, cu
t the ribbon to the entrance door.
The Main Lobby is dedicated in the memories of Dr. Varoujan Sahagian and Dr. Aline Sahagian. son and husband Dr. Vicken Sahagian did the ribbon cutting.
The Regional Executive Boardroom was dedicated in the memory of Hovaness Janig Khatchadourian, grandchildren Hrag and Johnny Khachadourian joined Mrs. Nevart Khachadourian in the ribbon cutting.
Raffi Khatchadourian, a Regional Executive Member and room donor said. “We do this for our future generations. Homenetmen needs to constantly adapt and better understand our kids, who are our future leaders. Our young members here in the US are an invaluable Homenetmen asset if we can keep them involved.”
The Administrators Office was dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Vahag and Baydsar Thomasian, daughter Soseh cut the ribbon.
The Staff Office was dedicated to long time Homenetmen and community supporter Mrs. Ashkhen Pilavjian. In an interview prior to the start of the ceremony, Pilavjian expressed her gratitude and support of Homenetmen and it’s mission and vowed to support for as long as she can.
The Homenetmen History Museum was dedicated in memory of the first Homenetmen Western U.S. Regional Chairman Hagop Ovayan. The ribbon was cut by Mrs. Akhavnee Ovayan and grandson the young Hagop Ovayan.
The Regional Committee Office is dedicated in memory of a member that played an important role in the regional Marching Band, Hagop Bosnoyan, his son Hrag Bosnoyan cut the ribbon.
The Andonian family was on hand to witness the ceremony. “My father would have been so proud today” said daughter Betty Andonian-Gulezyan. Alice Andonian cut the ribbon to mark the beginning of construction of the Homenetmen Kevork Andonian Hall. The 4000 square foot project which is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2010, will serve the organization and its community. Chairman Artinian announced that “in support of Homenetmen Alice Andonian has made a donation of $200,000” and thanked the entire Andonian family.
Guests were served champagne, cocktails and gourmet appetizers while walking through the rooms. Regional Executive and Sub Committee members were available to answer questions and talk about their activities. Jano Kahwedjian, Regional Member in charge of Athletics summed it up best when he said “This is all for our kids and I’m proud to be a part it.” Every conference and meeting room is equipped with video conferencing and power point presentation capabilities. Monitors throughout the building were playing Homenetmen graphics, as well as before and after picture of the building and architectural design drawings of the Kevork Andonian Hall. In a voice mail massage the day after the event former Navasartian Honorary President Shant Haytayan expressed how proud he was of Homenetmen and confirmed his commitment to serve the organization. Center Founding Member, Dr. Sarkis Arevian said, I’m so proud of Homenetmen for all its accomplishments, especially this one.
Regional member in charge of the reception was Ano Mansourian and along with Jassig Jarahian, chairwoman of the reception committee pulled off an elegant event while keeping very “Homenetmen”. The very popular Homenetmen TV host Nora Tchaparian took the mic and interviewed guests as they came in. K Nora was the volunteer HTV host for many year, her style of reporting always connected well with our supporters. Peklar Pilavjian who was instrumental in the negotiations for the purchase of the building was on hand. When thanked for coming he said, “It’s our duty, anything for Homenetmen.”
“Kudos to the regional executive committee, the regional staff, and all the sponsors for raising the bar for Homenetmen” said Armen Abrahamian, Chairman of the Homenetmen Strategic Planning Committee. When asked about her thoughts, Regional Executive Committee member Maro Kechichian said, “Homenetmen is in my blood. I have been working in Homenetmen my entire life and will continue for as long as I can, I am very proud to be a part of this historic day.” Hovig Bedevian, Regional Vice Chairman was busy greeting the VIP guests as they arrived and commented. “This is a proud day for the Homenetmen family because this center will energize our members.”
The celebration went late into the night as members and guests continued to arrive throughout the evening to attend the annual Homenetmen Regional Holiday Party. The party took place where the Kevork Andonian Hall will be built. Guests enjoyed the coffee bar, the buffet and the holiday music that played throughout the building. Regional Executive representative Rima Abedi welcomed everyone and extended the well wishes of the Regional Executive. She continued by introducing Benefactor Alice Andonian, son Hratch and daughter Betty to the enthusiastic crowd. Chairman Steve Artinian took advantage of the opportunity to thank the 2008-2009 Regional Executive Committee members who came together the night before and joined current Regional Executive members to help set up for the event. He continued by expressing the Regional Committee’s heartfelt gratitude to Regional staff members Rubina Djanseszian and Sevag Garabedian for their involvement in organizing the event, the Camp Tecuya fund raising committee for decorating the hall for the Christmas party, the volunteer videographer Garo and the volunteer photographer Berj and everyone that played a role in making the events a huge success.