ARF Aharonian Gomideh Banquet Raises $300 000 for Planned Armenian Center in Glendale

Dr. Alber Karamanoukian donates $250,000 in memory of his parents

GLENDALE–Based on the premise that an Armenian center is essential in nearly all sizable Armenian-American communities–a center is usually planned for construction–usually alongside the Armenian church–in order to fulfill the needs of local Armenian organizations and the community at-large.

In the evening of Saturday–May 15–for that very purpose–a banquet took place in the hall of the Glendale "Ararat" Homenetmen chapter’s new center–organized by the area’s ARF "Aharonian" gomideh.

The event’s benefactor was Dr. Alber Karamanoukian–whose princely quarter-million-dollar contribution will go toward the building of the Armenian center on the property adjoining Glendale’s St. Asdvadzadzin church. In total–the night’s event raised some $300,000 for that worthy goal.

Banquet guests and attendees included US Representative Adam Schiff–Glendale Mayor Bob Yousefian–Glendale City Council member Rafi Manoukian–benefactor Alber Karamanoukian–ARF Western US Central Committee member Vahe Bozoyan–Glendale Unified School Board President Greg Krikorian–Glendale Community College Board of Trustees members Dr. Armine Hacopian and Ara Najarian–State Senator Jack Scott’s representative Vahik Gourjian–Rev. Ardag Demirjian–and past and present member of church boards of trustees–Armenian and non-Armenian members of the business community–and members of the Armenian community–all told–more than 400 people.

The event’s emcee–Vahe Peroomian–in his opening remarks pointed out that purpose of the gathering was to place the plan to build a new Armenian center on more firm foundations. He then introduced the honored guests and officiated over the evening’s program after dinner was served.

The first to speak was Mayor Yousefian–who said the community had gathered to realize a beautiful dream. He pointed out that Glendale has a population of more than 100,000 Armenia’s–who need such a center for their community life. He called on those present to be generous with their donations.

Peroomian announced that the ARF gomideh had received written congratulations from Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich–Congressman Schiff–and State Representative Dario Frommer.

On behalf of the gomideh–Lena Bozoyan presented a plaque to Patrik Chrakhjian for his dedicated work on behalf of the Armenian Center project.

Next to address the attendees was Harout Manoukian–the representative of the ARF "Aharonian" gomideh. He said that it is an honor to address the community on such an important occasion–and especially in the center of an active organization such as Homenetmen–because it is here that the foundations of an Armenian Center are being laid.

Manoukian said that now–more than ever–such a densely Armenian-populated place as Glendale needs a new haven for our youth organizations–the Armenian Relief Society and its Saturday school–Hamazkayin with its choral and dance groups–the Sunday school of the St. Asdvadzadzin church–and the local chapter of the Armenian National Committee.

"As a political organization–we have a responsibility not only to ensure that our rank-and-file remain vigilant and effective–but also to defend the interests and rights of the Armenian community and carry out our civic duty toward Glendale," Manoukian stressed.

"Thanks to the Armenian National Committee–we have taken on leadership responsibilities in this community and will continue to do so–through the joint efforts of not only our members–but large numbers of supporters."

He stressed the importance of making the Glendale-Ghapan sister city project a living–breathing effort that accomplishes real results and leads to more such undertakings and the development of schools–villages–and towns in Armenia.

In the event’s biggest surprise–Manoukian then announced the night’s chief benefactor.

"The benefactor of our Armenian Center is a person imbued with Armenia and ‘Armenianness’," Manoukian said. "He is a skilled physician–a businessman?he is our ‘Dr. K,’ who is beloved by all and who since the tragic earthquake in Armenia has on every occasion participated in efforts to realize projects both in Armenia and locally."

Manoukian next announced the benefactor’s generous gift of $250,000–made in memory of his parents–Krikor and Mariam Karamanoukian.

In this festive atmosphere–Cong. Schiff also spoke to the attendees–congratulating them and wishing them continued success.

Rev. Vazken Atmajian transmitted the blessings of the Prelate–Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–and announced that the Archbishop had just been elected by the National Representative Assembly for another four-year term as Prelate.

Speaking at the end of the official portion of the night’s ceremonies–benefactor Alber Karamanoukian expressed gratitude toward his nation and homeland for educating him and making possible his success–and therefore his contribution to the Armenian Center.

He honored the memory of his parents–noting that they had bequeathed their home to the nation–to be used as an Armenian school.

Dr. Karamanoukian called on those present–"Open wide your purse strings for the sake of our youth–so that this center planned for our new generation may become reality."

On this auspicious occasion–the gomideh had issued a booklet clearly explaining the timely purpose and essential need for an Armenian Center.

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