The Central California Chapter of the Armenian National Committee honored US Representative George Radanovich (R-California) at their annual "Man of the Year" banquet in Fresno on Sunday March 9. Radanovich was awarded the "Man of the Year" honor at a gala luncheon in Fresno attended by an overflow crowd of more than 400 ANC members–supporters and friends.
The luncheon–which received widespread media attention by Central Valley television stations–was a major success. Special guests in attendance included Fresno County Supervisor Deran Koligian–Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson–Fresno City Councilmembers Gary Bredefeld–Mike Briggs and Chris Mathys. As well–many leading members of the Armenian community were in attendance–including Dr. Arthur Hazarabedian–the Chairman of the Fresno-based Armenian Technology Group; ANC Western Region Board members Koko Balian–John Boghossian and Avo Donoyan; National Prelacy Board member Arsen Danielian–Western Diocese Chairman Dr. Varoujan Altebarmakian and ANC Western Region Executive Director Vicken Sonentz-Papazian. As well–many members of the Fresno "Kevork Chavoush" chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation and the Homentmen were present and participated in the gathering.
The Master of Ceremonies for the event was ANC member Paul Jamushian. Welcoming remarks were given by ANC Central California Chairwoman Hygo Ohannessian. Also making a presentation was Armand Keosian–the Western Region Chairman of the ANC. The featured speaker was Mourad Topalian–the National Chairman of the ANC–who traveled to the event from the East Coast. Topalian gave a stirring address about Armenian community involvement and the role of the ANC in American political affairs. Topalian’s speech was moving–inspirational and rallied the audience.
Radanovich was introduced by long time supporter and friend Varoujan Der Simonian of the Armenian Technology Group. Der Simonian discussed Radanovich’s accomplishmen’s–including his election as President of the 104th Congress’ powerful Republican Freshman class. Der Simonian is one of the Congressman’s Community Representatives for Fresno County.
Radanovich was presented with the "Man of the Year" award by friend and advisor Abraham Saghdejian of Fresno. Saghdejian commented on Radanovich’s support for Armenian causes including the historic passage of his Amendment regarding the genocide. Saghdejian presented Radanovich with the award and congratulated and thanked the Congressman for his efforts on behalf of the entire Armenian community of the San Joaquin Valley. Saghdejian also serves as a member of Radanovich’s Finance Committee.
When presented with the award–Radanovich thanked the ANC for their hard work on behalf of the Armenian cause. The Congressman thanked Abraham Saghdejian–Varoujan Der Simonian and Mourad Topalian for their outstanding service to the community. "I am also Pleased and honored to accept this award from the ANC," said Radanovich. Additionally–Radanovich announced that he will be visiting Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh in early April with his Senior Staff and a delegation from the Armenian Technology Group. Radanovich said he would meet with government leaders and tour important historic and agricultural sites while in Armenia and Karabakh–as well as speak at a special session of the Karabakh Parliament.
Radanovich District Director Steve Samuelian–who will join the Congressman on the upcoming trip said–"Radanovich is truly looking forward to visiting Armenia and Karabakh. This is his first visit–and he hopes to gain valuable insight into the problems facing the new Armenian Republic and see how Congress can better assist. As well–he is very interested in the current situation in Karabakh. Congressman Radanovich believes that anything less then full self-determination and secure borders for Karabakh is unacceptable–and he intends to continue the fight for the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh."
Radanovich was selected for the "Man of the Year" award due to his steadfast support and leadership on issues of concern to the Armenian-American community. Radanovich authored an amendment last year that passed the House of Representatives punishing Turkey for its denial of the Armenian Genocide. The Radanovich-Bonoir Amendment created international news when it passed the House. The Republic of Turkey rejected all US aid within hours of the House passage of the amendment.
Radanovich has been a leader of Armenian issues in Congress–and has led the fight to pass the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act. Radanovich recently introduced the "Armenian Assistance Act" on Feb. 4. This legislation proposes to redirect $22 million of economic support aid for Turkey–and transfer the amount to Armenia for agricultural development.
Following the event–the overflow crowd gathered around Radanovich and thanked him for all of his work for the Armenian cause. Organizer Apo Saghdejian said–"We were thrilled with the large turnout from the Armenian community for this gathering. The event exceeded our expectations–and will be remembered as one of the most successful ANC events in Fresno history."
ANC Central California Chairwoman Hygo Ohannessian said of the event–"The ANC in Fresno is on the move–and gaining new strength–members and enthusiasm. We are very pleased with the strong showing from our local ANC members. I am pleased we were able to properly thank Congressman Radanovich for his efforts by having such a large crowd." Master of Ceremonies Paul Jamushian added–"It was an honor to participate in this outstanding gathering and thank Congressman Radanovich for his unprecedented work on behalf of all Armenia’s."