MONTEBELLO–As on of his first official acts as the newly-elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County–Lee Baca–accompanied by Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles–Armen Melkonian and chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Western US Hovig Saliba–laid a wreath Monday at the Montebello Genocide Monument in remembrance of the 1.5 million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide and the tens of thousands who perished during the Armenian earthquake 10 years ago.
The more than 150 dignitaries and community members gathered in Montebello also silently participated in a solemn requiem service for the victims of both tragedies–officiated by Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian and Western Primate Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian.
The two church leaders also personally thanked Sheriff Baca for his outstanding support of the Armenian-American community and wished him well with his upcoming duties in the nation’s largest sheriff’s department.
In his remarks–Baca honored the memory of the victims of the Genocide and the earthquake–and pledged his continued support for the Armenian community.
Also speaking at the event was newly-elected Congresswoman Grace Napolitano–who expressed her heartfelt sympathies for the victims of the earthquake and the Genocide and pledged her support in Washington for issues concerning tens of thousands of Armenian-American residing in her district which includes Montebello.
Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Executive Director Vicken Sonentz-Papazian–then introduced Consul General Melkonian–who recounted the devastation of the earthquake an its aftermath. He thanked the people of California and the US government for their rapid mobilization of humanitarian assistance.
ANCA-WR Board of Directors chairman Vahe Yacoubian introduced Sheriff Baca and reminded those gathered that–in order to spend an afternoon at the Genocide monument with his Armenian-American friends and supporters–the Sheriff had declined dozens of appearance requests elsewhere.
Other officials attending the ceremony included Pasadena City Councilmember Ann-Marie Villicana–Chief Bob Pash of the LA County Sheriff’s Department–Montebello Police Chief Tim Mahan and Montebello City Treasurer Zaven Malkassian.