Sold out event in downtown Burbank draws officials, candidates, and community activists
BURBANK. Calif.—The Burbank chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA-B) celebrated its seventh Annual Banquet on Friday, May 9th. This sold-out event, held at De Luxe Banquet Hall was host to 350 of our community’s most distinguished leaders, businessmen and activists. This year’s Master of Ceremonies was Raffi Hamparian, Board Member of Armenian National Committee of America.
Every year, ANCA-B honors a select few individuals and organizations that show exemplary leadership and lend their voice in support of the Armenian-American community. The contributions of Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse, political activist Berdj Karapetian, educator Ani Berberian, and Southern California Armenian Democrats (SCAD) were recognized during the evening’s program.
“We were excited to see so many community leaders present at our event,” said Liliane Aredjian, the co-chair of the banquet organizing committee. “The Armenian-American community of Burbank is truly proud of those who work tirelessly to advocate for our community and we’re glad to have had a chance to recognize their contributions.”
The evening presented an opportunity for individuals and organizations in the community to meet with Burbank officials and supporters of the ANCA-B. The funds raised from this event will help partially offset the costs of ANCA-B’s programs and activities in the coming year.
In attendance were Burbank elected officials Mayor Dr. David Gordon, Vice-Mayor Bob Frutos, Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy, Jess Talamantes, and Gary Bric. Also present were City Manager Mark Scott, Fire Chief Tom Lenehan, along with Board of Education members Dr. Roberta Reynolds and Larry Applebaum and Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz.
Representatives from the offices of Congressman Brad Sherman, State Assemblyman Mike Gatto, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich were also present and offered letters of recognition for the honorees. Congressman Adam Schiff was unable to attend but offered commendation letters to the honorees. From Glendale, newly elected Mayor, Zareh Sinanyan introduced Berdj Karapetian and presented all honorees with letters of recognition. Glendale City Clerk, Ardy Kassakhian presented the award to SCAD.
“The grassroots programs of the ANCA make us the true representatives of the Armenian American community in the region and the breadth of representation by our political and civic leaders attests to the positive impact we have had in our community,” said Zareh Khachatourian, Acting Director of ANCA-B. “It was an honor to address the attendees tonight and be part of an amazing effort put on by this year’s committee.”
Also present were candidate for California State Senate and former California Assemblyman, Anthony Portantino, and candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff, Jim McDonnell.
The ANCA was proud to honor Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse with the “William Saroyan” award. LaChasse joined the Burbank Police Force in 2010, and has since implemented contemporary police practices across the board. From reaching out to the Armenian community to educate them about police practices, to including the Armenian language in all training and educational programs, Chief LaChasse has helped bridge the gap between the Armenian-American community and the law.
Also honored at this banquet was Berdj Karapetian, founder of the ANCA’s Washington advocacy office and a veteran activist of more than 30 years. The ANCA was thrilled to award Karapetian the “Vahan Cardashian” award for his unparalleled dedication to community and business leadership.
The Southern California Armenian Democrats (SCAD) was the recipient of the “Levon Shant” award for political activism. Founded in 2011, SCAD is the first and largest Armenian-American Democratic Club and is a representative of the Armenian voice in the Southern California Democratic Party. The award was accepted by Dr. Armond Aghakhanian.
The “Mesrob Mashdots” award was given to Ani Berberian, who has served as a community leader in several organizations and been a dedicated teacher for over four decades. Berberian continues to have an immeasurable impact on the preservation of the Armenian culture, history and language.