UNIVERSAL CITY—More than 500 Homenetmen members, supporters, and guests filled the Universal Hilton Hotel’s banquet hall on Sunday, July 1 for the Victory Banquet celebrating the vast accomplishments of the athletes participating in the 37th Navasartian Games.
Guests included Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Consul General Grigor Hovhannesyan; Homenetmen Central Executive members Hagop Tufenkjian and Viken Tavitian; ACF Central Committee member Koko Topalian; ARS Regional Executive Board members; Adrin Nazarian, candidate of the California State Assembly; and numerous Homenetmen members, including Honorary Presidents and Exemplary Homenetmen Members from years past. The event also had the strong support of jewelers, whose attendance displayed their solidarity with this year’s Honorary President, who also serves as the President of the Armenian Jewelers Association.
After a one-hour cocktail reception during which the crowd mingled, guests occupied their seats for the start of the evening’s official program. Banquet Organizing Committee Chairperson Shant Haytayan, who MCed the program, welcomed guests and thereafter invited Lara Gharibian to sing the American national anthem, followed by Homenetmen scout Ivonna Krikorian, who sang the Armenian national anthem and the Homenetmen anthem.
Archbishop Mardirossian delivered his blessings, extending well wishes for the Navasartian Games and congratulations to the Honorary President, Mr. & Mrs. Gagik and Madine Gevorkian, and the 2012 Exemplary Homenetmen Member Maro Kechichian. The Prelate also read a letter of blessings by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I sent on the occasion of the 37th Navasartian Games.
During dinner, guests viewed two video presentations, one of which covered the history of the Navasartian Games and the other presented a biographical sketch of the Honorary President.
Following dinner, Congressman Brad Sherman delivered remarks and presented a symbolic American flag, which has flown at the White House, as well as its certificate of authenticity that was accepted by Homenetmen Regional Executive Chairperson Garnik Abrahamian.
On behalf of the Homenetmen Regional Executive, Vicken Dakessian took to the podium and delivered a message to guests, stating “Looking around and within the boundaries of this banquet hall, I can’t but admire all your individual and collective talent, intellect, personal achievements and financial powers, thus tonight I am going to challenge all of us to work together as one to exert all thinkable and imaginable means to advance the Navasartian Games to boundless frontiers. Let us all be a source of strength and a great example to each other.”
Thereafter, Dakessian outlined the qualities of an Exemplary Homenetmen Member and, soon after, invited this year’s honoree, Maro Kechichian, to the stage. Kechichian thanked the Homenetmen Regional Executive for bestowing her with the honor and expressed her contentment with belonging to an organization such as Homenetmen, where she has learned much to become a confident, bold, and patriotic individual. She went on to praise the collective forces that lie at the essence of the organization, which feeds it strength and leaves no room for personal gains. Following her heartfelt speech, Kechichian received a memorable plaque from the Homenetmen Regional Executive.
Soon after, in a much anticipated moment in the evening, the official transfer of the tricolor ribbon took place from one honorary president to the current one. As such, the 35th Honorary President George Jamgochian transferred the ribbon to Mr. & Mrs. Gagik and Madine Gevorkian. Mr. Gevorkian delivered a warm and touching speech affirming what an asset Homenetmen is as an organization to the Armenian people, confidently expressing his pride to be an Armenian and belonging to a people from which such an organization was established and continues to grow, inspire, and discipline the younger generation. Gevorkian gave special mention to the fact that the realization of what a fundamental role Homenetmen plays for the Armenia youth is what became the decisive factor for him to accept the role of Honorary President.
He concluded by encouraging guests to continue their show of support by attending the Navasartian Games and closing ceremony, all the while affirming his backing of the organization. Thereafter, he was presented with memorabilia from Regional Executive Chairperson Abrahamian.
Officials including Los Angeles City Councilmember Dennis Zine and Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel also appeared before guests with encouraging words, as did Michael Landver, a long-time friend of Honorary President Gevorkian.
After the end of the evening’s official program, guests enjoyed music from DJ Vazken and celebrated late into the evening with enthusiastic spirit.