GLENDALE, Calif.—After three years of providing treatments to the veterans of the Artsakh Liberation Movement through the “With Our Soldiers” initiative, the Armenian Youth Federation has announced the completion of the first phase of the program as of Dec. 31, 2014. During the course of the WOS campaign, over 80 freedom fighters and members of their families have been assisted by the AYF with the funds raised from the community, donors, supporters and the various AYF chapters.
The AYF launched its “With Our Soldiers” program at the start of 2012, proclaiming that year as the Year of the Armenian Freedom Fighter (Azadamardik). The Central Executive and local chapters organized a number of fundraising events during the course of the campaign, which allowed the specially-formed task force to partner with the Yerevan Medical Center and facilitate the treatments of veterans suffering from war-related injuries. The “With Our Soldiers” task force periodically informed the community about the progress of its work by releasing financial reports, as well as video updates prepared by Yerkir Media in Armenia which told the stories of the veterans who were being helped by the campaign.
“It has been a truly humbling experience to work with our freedom fighters during the past three years,” said David Arakelyan, the chairman of the “With Our Soldiers” task force. “These men have made tremendous sacrifices to give us a precious gift, an independent Artsakh, and this campaign was our attempt to express our gratitude to them and to tell their stories to our community, especially the young people, many of whom were born after the Artsakh Liberation struggle.”
The list of treatments and services provided to the freedom fighters extends from simple check-ups and consultations to complicated and expensive surgeries. During the course of the campaign, the task force remained committed to providing care to the largest number of individuals possible with the resources available. The timeliness and the urgency of the “With Our Soldiers” initiative to assist our veterans was confirmed by the high demand for the medical services that far exceeded the campaign’s financial capabilities.
“It was important for the AYF to show to our veterans that we stand with them and that we stand with Artsakh during these challenging times, when Azerbaijan continues to increase both its military budget and its warmongering rhetoric,” said Caspar Jivalagian, a member of the “With Our Soldiers” task force. “Our freedom fighters have set a great example for the Armenian youth today. We must remain committed to Artsakh and to the cause of liberation of the rest of our occupied Homeland.”
The Armenian Youth Federation has released a brochure, which is meant to serve as a report to the donors and the community at large about the work done through the “With Our Soldiers” initiative. The brochure contains information on campaign events, finances and the fedayis who have been assisted during this phase of the initiative. This report has been mailed to the donors and supporters of the “With Our Soldiers” campaign. It is also available in print and in digital format to all members of the community interested in learning more about the campaign and its work. To obtain a copy of the brochure, please contact the AYF office at 818-507-1933.
The AYF has also announced that the next phase of the campaign, focusing on current and retired servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces and their families, will be launched towards the end of 2015.
Arpa Hatzbanian, chairperson of the AYF Central Executive, has declared the organization’s intention to “recognize the brave soldiers who are currently protecting our borders and the heroes who have fallen in the line of duty while defending the right of the people of Artsakh and Armenia to live peacefully on our historic lands.” The AYF will provide the community with details regarding this initiative in the near future.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.