GLENDALE—More than 600 guests joined the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA to celebrate its 35th Anniversary Gala held on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at the Glendale Hilton Hotel.
The evening’s official program commenced with the singing of the American, Armenian, and ARS anthems by Anahid Nercissian. Opening remarks were then delivered by the event’s Master of Ceremonies Arshaluys Darbinyan, who welcomed Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian to deliver the invocation and table blessing. In his remarks, Archbishop Mardirossian reflected on the region’s impactful humanitarian work throughout its 35 years of service. He stressed the volunteer work of the organization’s members, congratulated the region on the milestone anniversary, as well as the evening’s honoree Jasik Jarahian for her dedication and accomplishments.
On behalf of the ARS Gala Organizing Committee, Committee Chairperson Vicky Marashlian addressed guests and extended special thanks to the ARS Regional Executive Board, committee and ARS members, the event’s candle lighters and donors, who demonstrate their utmost support to the organization.
Official guests in attendance included His Excellency Dr. Armen Baibourtian, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles; Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; ARS Central Executive member Maral Matossian; ARF Central Committee member Garo Madenlian; Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Yardemian of the Western Diocese; Bishop Mikael Mouradian; Very Rev. Vatche Ekmekjian; representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region, Hamazkayin and Homenetmen Regional Executives; Asbarez Newspaper English Editor Ara Khachatourian; as well as representatives from various local and community organizations.
Maral Matossian delivered the ARS Central Executive Board’s message, exclaiming the significance of celebrating the ARS of Western USA’s 35th Anniversary and the honoring of its long-standing and dedicated member Jasik Jarahian. Matossian reflected how the ARS of Western USA comprises one of the most influential and exemplary regions in the Armenian Relief Society’s worldwide organization, honoring all of its responsibilities as its serves the welfare of communities with true faith and dedication. In concluding her remarks, Matossian congratulated the ARS of Western USA, its leadership, and devoted members, as well as extended wishes for continued success, on behalf of the ARS Central Executive.
Public officials in attendance at the event also took the opportunity to deliver congratulatory remarks to the organization and the event’s honoree, as well as present proclamations and certificates. They included California State Senator Anthony Portantino, California State Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian and Laura Friedman, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Glendale City Councilmembers Vrej Aghajanian, Vartan Gharpetyan, and Paula Devine. District Representative Mary Hovagimian delivered remarks on behalf of U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff, who had also prepared a video message on the occasion.
During dinner, guests enjoyed a slide show depicting the names of the event’s candle lighters, donors, as well as photos of former ARS Regional Executive Boards throughout the region’s 35 year history. A video was also viewed detailing the biography, work and service of Jasik Jarahian.
The ARS Regional Executive Board’s remarks were delivered by Chairperson Silva Poladian, who explained that the region’s 35 years of service is one that comprises volunteerism, dedication, service, cultural preservation, and a noble humanitarian mission. Chairperson Poladian gave special mention to members of the region’s first Regional Executive Board, including the late Alice Madenlian, the late Annig Sahagian, and the late Anna Kevorkian, as well as its active members Hasmig Derderian, Mako Mgrdichian, Alice Gureghian and Annig Zindarsian. She asserted, “This 35th Anniversary is a culmination of the region’s tireless work and activities, dedication, and sacrifice.”
Poladian extended special appreciation and thanks to the ARS 35th Anniversary Gala’s Major Banquet Sponsor – Naz Atikian of Family Rescue Fund, who devotes a great deal of her time and energy to various charitable organizations, including the ARS of Western USA, which has received her ongoing support and contributions.
The ARS Regional Executive Board also marked the 35th Anniversary celebration by honoring its long-time and dedicated member Jasik Jarahian, General Manager of the ARS Regional Headquarters. She is recognized for her vast organizational experience, dedication, drive and passion for advancing the work of the organization both locally and internationally, and received a special gift from the Board in recognition of this honor.
Jasik Jarahian took to the podium to extend her gratitude, first to God, then to members of former and present ARS Regional Executive Boards, former and present staff, and her family members, including her daughter Bianca, her son-in-law Artin Manoukian, grandchildren Aram and Sevana, and her brother Kahren Beniasians, all of whom have been steadfast in supporting her throughout her life. Jarahian asserted that her sole request from God is to look over the livelihood of our people in Armenia and Artsakh and for the nation’s soldiers to return home safely. Before concluding her remarks, Jarahian thanked the current ARS Regional Executive Board, stating “While it was a difficult year, we overcame any and all challenges collectively.”
A candle lighting ceremony then ensued as a result of the sponsorship of 90 candle lighters during the event. Entertainment followed by the renowned Allen G Orchestra and its talented artists and musicians.
As a token of appreciation, the ARS Regional Executive Board gifted special pins bearing the ARS 35th Anniversary logo to all former Regional Executive members in attendance at the event.