SHUSHI, MARTUNI—The AYF’s ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign is continuing to report to the community on the disbursement of funds to the families of our fallen soldiers and featuring the story of each hero in our articles. This week, the campaign has released information on the visits to the families of five fallen servicemen in the city of Shushi and the Martuni regions of Artsakh. The representatives of the campaign distributed a total $5,000 to the families of servicemen from these areas who were killed in April. You can watch the video report of the visits with the families here:
As in the past, the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign allocated $1,000 to the family of each fallen soldier, with an extra $250 payment for each child. Three of the four soldiers, whose families were assisted during this phase of the campaign, had children. Overall, 24 servicemen and military personnel from different regions of Artsakh gave their lives in service of the Homeland, and the AYF delivered about $33,000 to those families. The campaign had previously reported on the assistance provided to the families in Hadrut, Kashatagh, Askeran, and Markatert. The stories of the soldiers from the last remaining region of Artsakh – the capital city of Stepanakert – will be featured next week.
“We remain committed to reaching out to the families of each of our fallen heroes,” said David Arakelyan, the chairman of the With Our Soldiers task force. “It is important to show these families that they are not alone in these trying times and it is imperative to continue telling the stories of these brave young men to our community and our young people.”
The With Our Soldiers task force is providing a detailed report on the families that have been served through the program, including receipts signed by the family members who have received the financial assistance. Below you will find a brief biography of each fallen soldier, with respective video reports and individual clips about them and their families.
Hayk Grigoryan (b. 1993) from the village of Gishi had turned 23 years old on March 29th, three days before his death on April 2nd near Jrakan (Jebrail). ‘Hayk was born in a basement during one war and died in a tank during another war,’ his mother, Narine, tearfully said in one of the interviews. The graduate of the Vazgen Sarkissian Military Academy, Lieutenant Hayk Grigoryan was the commander of a tank unit, which fought against the Azeris during the early hours of the invasion. His tank was hit by the enemy and Hayk, along with his crew members, perished in it. His father, Rodik, a freedom fighter who participated in the Artsakh Liberation struggle, does not work, and the family depended on Hayk’s military service for income. A young man with a great sense of humor, Hayk Grigoryan was engaged to the 19-year old Suzy from a neighboring village and dreamed about building a new home for himself and his future wife. That dream, along with many others, was not meant to come true. Hayk’s family was given $1,000 by the WOS campaign. You can learn more about Hayk Grigoryan here.
Vladimir Narinyan (b. 1996) was the youngest of the three sons of Artak and Nelli Narinyan from Martuni. Described as sensitive, caring, and patient by his relatives, Vladimir was a history buff, enjoyed stories about the fedayis and haytougs of the past, and had enrolled in the History Department of the Artsakh State University, hoping to finish his education after completing his military service. He was also physically active, and loved to play soccer with friends. Sergeant Vladimir Narinyan died on April 5th near Mataghis from shrapnel wounds received while fulfilling his military duties. Vladimir served together with his close friend, Yuri Paramazyan, whose death a few days earlier had left a profound mark on the young man. Vladimir’s family was given $1,000 by the With Our Soldiers campaign. You can learn more about Vladimir here.
Yuri Pharamazyan (b. 1996) died in the early hours of the war, on April 2nd, shielding two of his friends from enemy fire and sacrificing his own life in order to save theirs. The last time the family had seen their child was on March 5th, when Yuri had come home for a brief vacation; he had only four months left to finish military service, and was counting the days until he could return home. In the early hours of April 2nd upon hearing about the Azeri attacks, Yuri’s mother, Gayane, tried calling her son, but no one picked up: he had already been killed. Yuri was a very devoted friend, who did everything to make sure that his friends, and especially Vladimir Narinyan, were safe. The two grew up together, served in the same unit, and died during the same week. Yuri was saving money to buy a car, start working with his father, Anatoly, and help out his parents. Now, his family will be using these savings for Yuri’s gravestone. Yuri’s family was given $1,000 by the With Our Soldiers campaign. You can learn more about Yuri here.
Sargis Gasparyan (b. 1996) had finished his mandatory military service earlier this year (February) and had come back home. In the aftermath of the Four Day War, he returned to the front lines, this time as a volunteer, to continue defending his country. On the evening of April 29th, he rushed to the line of contact in Talish to help a fellow serviceman from Shushi, Vazgen Harutyunyan, and was himself shot by the enemy while transporting Vazgen. After three days of fighting for his life in the Stepanakert hospital, Sargis Gasparyan died on May 2nd. Sargis’ father has health issues and has been unemployed for the past five years; his mother works at one of Shushi’s kindergartens. The family relies on Sargis’ sister, Inga, who lives and works in Italy, for support. Sargis’ family was given $1,000 by the With Our Soldiers campaign. You can learn more about Sargis here.
Vazgen Harutyunyan (b. 1968) was a veteran of the Artsakh Liberation Struggle, and went to the front lines as a volunteer during the Four Day War. He served near Mataghis along with his nephew, who was a contract serviceman for the Artsakh Self-Defense Forces. A father of two children – Grigor (b. 2002) and Alexander (b. 2003) – Vazgen worked as a security guard at one of the schools in Shushi. His youngest son, Alexander, is in fourth grade, and the oldest one, Grigor is suffering from cerebral palsy and is in need of specialized care. Vazgen and his wife, Anush Tonyan, were divorced, and one of the children (Grigor) lived with their mother, who does not have a job. Vazgen’s brother, who is married and has children of his own, has assumed the financial responsibility for Grigor and Alexander; the latter also lives at his uncle’s house, helping him around the farm. Vazgen’s family was given $1,000 by the With Our Soldiers campaign. You can learn more about them here.
Due to the internal family dynamics, only $1,000 was given to Anush Tonyan by the task force. The WOS campaign is currently considering options for providing further assistance to the children of Vazgen Harutyunyan directly.
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.