‘With Our Soldiers’ Campaign Assists Families of Fallen Soldiers in Gegharkunik

WOSgegharkunik

GEGHARKUNIK—The Armenian Youth Federation’s ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign has been actively distributing funds to the families of the fallen soldiers in Armenia. During the past week, the representatives of the initiative in Armenia visited six families in the Gegharkunik region, expressing condolences and appreciation for the sacrifices made by the soldiers and their relatives and providing monetary aid to the families.

These visits are conducted in accordance with a protocol developed by the With Our Soldiers task force in the United States. Along with the funds, a letter of support from the AYF Western Region membership and the With Our Soldiers task force is also delivered to each family.  The recipient of the funds – usually a parent or a spouse of the fallen soldier – is asked to sign a receipt to be used as proof for the delivery of the money. As a rule, a psychologist from the Armenian Relief Society accompanies the AYF members and Alumni visiting the families, in case such services are needed by the family members.

As mentioned in previous publications, the With Our Soldiers task force is committed to giving $1,000 to the family of each fallen soldier, with an additional $250 payment for each child in the family. A total of $7,000 was allocated to the six families in Gegharkunik. On May 27th, classrooms in the schools attended by these fallen soldiers in their native villages were named in their honor in accordance with the decision of the teacher’s councils of those schools.

Below is the list of fallen soldiers from Gegharkunik whose families received funds from the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign:

Harutyun Abrahamyan (b. 1985) left behind his wife and three children, Mkhitar (2008), Mariam (2010), and Mané (2012). Harutyun was born into a religious family, and dreamed about becoming a dentist. Instead, he joined the Army to help meet his family’s financial needs, following the footsteps of his father, Hovannes, who was a sniper during the Artsakh Liberation War. Harutyun was killed in military operations near Talish during the Four Day War. Harutyun was an only child: his mother, father, wife, and three kids all live together in the Areguni village of Gegharkunik. The family was given $1,750 by the WOS campaign. Video below to learn more about the family. 

Vrezh Sargsyan (b. 1989) was from the village of Pokr Masrik, and was a close friend of Harutyun Abrahamyan, who was also stationed near Talish (Artsakh) in the days preceding the Four Day War. Born to Vardan and Sveta Sargsyans, Vrezh was one of family’s three sons. Two of them, Mayis and Vrezh, were serving together in the Armenian Armed Forces. Vrezh’s death was witnessed by his brother, who participated in the same battles and brought back to the village the bodies of his brother Vrezh and their mutual friend, Harutyun Abrahamyan. Vrezh Sargsyan was married, and his wife Nakhshun and 2-year old son, Vardan, live in Vrezh’s parental home.  The family was given $1,250 by the WOS campaign. Video below to learn more about the family. 

Davit Hayrapetyan (b. 1997) was not married, and was the youngest of the family’s four children. He was known for being very outgoing and willing to help anyone in need. Davit left behind his parents, two older brothers, and an older sister, who live in the Zolakar village of Gegharkunik.  During the visit by our team, the family emphasized that the loss was truly devastating for them, especially given the fact that Davit was the youngest of their children. Davit Hayrapetyan’s father, Razmik, and brother spend a part of the year working in Russia in order to take care of the family’s living expenses. Both of Davit’s older brothers have served in the Armenian Armed Forces, defending the border in Artsakh. The family was given $1,000 by the WOS campaign. Video below to learn more about the family. 

Norik Sargsyan (b. 1996) of the Yeranos village was the third of the six children (5 sons and 1 daughter, the youngest child, Daniel, is 3 years old now) of Zaven and Lena Sargsyan. Norik served near Jrakan (Jebrail) and died on the night of April 2nd.  His body was received by the family on April 12, with sings of repeated shots in the chest (which were apparently made after Norik was already dead). Norik’s father participated in the Artsakh Liberation struggle. The fallen soldier’s two older brothers are married, and their wives are expecting children. The older brother, Andranik, told our crew in Armenia that he will name his son after Norik. There is a monument erected in Norik’s honor in his native village. The family was given $1,000 by the WOS campaign. Video below to learn more about the family. 

Gagik Melkonyan (b. 1982) lost his father when he was still a child. Gagik, his younger brother and older sister, Alisa, were brought up by their mother, who passed away in January of this year at the age of 55.  Gagik’s military salary was the main source of income for the family; he supported his sister, who is a student, and his younger brother, Samvel (27), who has serious health issues. The family lives in very difficult socio-economic conditions, their house is need of repairs, and Samvel requires medical care. Gagik was killed while fighting against 18 attacking Azeri soldiers, from a strike from a Grad instillation near Talish. His body was found three days later; Gagik was buried next to his mother in his native village of Zolakar. The family was given $1,000 by the WOS campaign. Video below to learn more about the family. 

Armen Martirosyan (b. 1996) was from the Gandzak village of Gegharkunik. Armen was the youngest child in the family; he has three older sisters, who are married and have children. His father, Hrayr, was working in Russia when he received the news of his son’s death. He told our crew that Armen was very athletic and took karate lessons. Armen was also a graduate of the Gavar State Musical College, and played the piano. He was killed by an Azeri sniper on May 11th near Talish (Artsakh). The family was given $1,000 by the WOS campaign. Video below to learn more about the family. 

The AYF’s ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign, originally launched in 2012, was restarted in the aftermath of the Four Day War with the aim of providing assistance to the families of the fallen soldiers. To learn more about the campaign or to make a donation today, you can visit www.withoursoldiers.com.

Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the world, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian youth.

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