MONTEBELLO—On Thursday, October 22, 2015 the Montebello-Commerce Chapter of the YMCA honored several Armenian Individuals and Organizations at their Annual Ball & Gala. The event was attended by hundreds and is one of the primary fundraisers that supports programs for children in need at the YMCA. Mike Newton, the Chairman of the YMCA Montebello-Commerce Chapter highlighted the many ways in which the Armenian Community in Montebello has helped build, develop and continue to support the YMCA over the years.
Lucik Gabriel, a third generation Board member whose grandfather, John Gabriel and father, Ron Gabriel also served as board members for the YMCA shared her experiences growing up with the YMCA. At a time when few programs existed, the YMCA provided swim lessons, exercise classes, a gymnasium several youth programs.
YMCA Board Member Dr. Ralph Hansen presented three Armenian Organization with resolutions commemorating their service to the YMCA. The Armenian Cultural Foundation, the Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Cathedral and the Armenian Mesrobian School all received all received resolutions acknowledging their contributions. The Mayor of the City of Montebello, the honorable Jack Hadjinian also presented all three organizations with resolutions marking the occasion. Montebello School Board Member David Veles presented a resolution on behalf of the City of Commerce to the Armenian National Committee San Gabriel Valley Chapter.
As part of the program a special video was produced marking the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The video highlighted the fact that Armenians were persecuted for their religious faith and ethnicity and had testimonials from the children of Armenian Genocide survivors.
“To have such a tremendous show of support from the YMCA touched us very deeply”, said Armenian Mesrobian School Principal David Ghoogasian. “As American Armenians we straddle two worlds. As Armenians we identify strongly with our language, heritage and culture. As Americans we do our best to integrate into the community and contribute in any way we can. To have the YMCA recognize those contributions made this a truly special event.”