Hamlet Chraghchian – Unrivaled!

Hamlet Chraghchian


BY DONIG L. DONABEDIAN

How does one chronicle an extensive body of work that spans 7 decades? How do you recount the distant past vividly if accounts in your life were not inscribed on paper and later cataloged? How can one dig up precise details? Unless we’re all blessed with photographic memories that never fade, my guess would be, with grave difficulty. What would prompt a person to remain in an organization with an inexorable mission to keep in line with its own objectives for so long? What good would anyone assume would come out of persisting to voluntarily bequeath their time, youth, energy and adulthood with unimpeded zeal for a lifetime, to have an impact on the future of Armenian youth? Challenging questions! Nonetheless important questions well worth asking, because the person of interest in this article, pardon the cliché, has seen and done it all for close to seventy long years, and is being honored with its highest accolade. Homenetmen, the organization he has served, volunteered for and revered since he was 12 years old, and possibly one of its longest serving members to date; have chosen to honor him as this year’s “Exemplary Homenetmen Member.”

Hamlet Chraghchian’s length of volunteer service is exemplary to say the least. It makes one wonder as to what prompts a person to dedicate themselves to the lifelong passion to serve. The act of volunteering evokes the type of question or questions we seldom ask ourselves or of each other: The question here is never: “How much did you do?” The question is: “Why does what you do matter?” To that end, the single most important reason for volunteer programs must be: It creates better people. To serve Homenetmen as a volunteer is to ask the same question and the reason to do so would be to prepare the youth to become better people and exemplary citizens to one day contribute to their community. Hence, the body of work accumulated by Hamlet Chraghchian.

At 78, Hamlet Chraghchian defies age with grace, despite the fact that he has clocked decades searching incessantly for ways to impart his wisdom about the importance, moral significance and the unshakable integrity of Homenetmen, and inculcate the principles meaningfully and reverently for them to be permanently etched in a person’s life, so that the experiences would never be forgotten nor abandoned, but recalled at a moment’s notice. That singular vision would take him on a journey that enriched his life beyond expectation and shaped him to be the man he is today.

Hamlet’s accomplishments in Homenetmen are so varied and copious, that the mere attempt to revisit them would be an exercise in futility, unless of course the incalculable moments he lived within its orbit had been registered in the Homenetmen Book of Life.

Born in Tabriz, Iran, in 1936, Hamlet Chraghchian was six years old when his family moved to the capital, Tehran, and there, four years later, he went on to sign up with the Ararat Armenian Cultural Organization, an organization that was formed in 1944. As he grew so did his rank and notability as a scout and athlete. Hamlet’s leadership qualities were on a trajectory and his prominence within the organization as well as his influence and stature grew as a teenager, and it was apparent that he would one day, sooner rather than later, lead the organization to scale the kind of heights unimagined before. And he did!

After completing his higher education in engineering in Germany, Hamlet returned home in 1960, where he devoted himself to Ararat’s mission of preparing exemplary Armenian youth. He wanted to quickly make up for lost time away from Ararat Armenian Cultural Organization due to his higher education commitments. That same year he married Greta Sayadian with whom they had three children, Patrick, Pierre and Milen. A fiercely principled and committed husband and father, and with his familial and career responsibilities in order, Hamlet continued his work in Ararat, where he saw to it that the organization grew from strength to strength until his departure to the United States in 1981.

Hamlet Chraghchian immigrated to the United States two years after his wife and children had arrived due to the political unrest back home. He quickly moved to establish his own engineering and construction company, and for the last ten years has been running a business as a developer. Predictably, Hamlet did not waste any time upon arrival to the United States, and joined Homenetmen Ararat Chapter, his home away from home. In 1982 Hamlet became an executive committee member in Glendale Ararat Chapter, where he served until 1986. In 1987, Hamlet became Regional Executive Committee Member in Homenetmen Western United States, where he served until 1990. It didn’t stop there. Shortly after his tenure as regional executive member concluded, he served on another executive committee board, this time as a Central Executive Member, Homenetmen’s world-wide ruling body, from 1991 to 1994.

Never reticent, always outspoken, Hamlet’s vision as a Homenetmenagan was to extend Homenetmen’s reach as far and as wide as possible and to perpetuate its fundamental message and principles as an extraordinary organization that exerts every possible effort in the quest to prepare the kind of exemplary citizens and community members who inject pride and elevate the very nature of its doctrine.

Hamlet has risen to the occasion to help Homenetmen and its extended family countless times and in countless ways as a volunteer, has been a staple in the Armenian American Community and the Armenian Community in Iran before it. Never has he shirked from his duties to help Homenetmen in whatever way possible, his diligence is unmatched and continues till this day, and has never contemplated defeat. To measure a lifetime of achievements and accomplishments Hamlet has had in Homenetmen would be an excruciating task, simply because of the enormity of the task to put it all together.

Hamlet credits much of his success in life and career to Homenetmen. Its influence on him extends to this day, and insists that without Homenetmen in his life, the likelihood of him finding the success he’s had would’ve been remote. It elevated him to the highest positions it has to offer in its hierarchy and at the same time helped bring him success in life.

Upon Reflection, Hamlet Chraghchian served Homenetmen with immense distinction. His legacy will be enshrined with the best of them, and his place in the annals of the organization will forever be encapsulated with the highest of regard and esteem.

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