Following a Generous Contribution From Varant and Hoori Melkonian
Following an announcement this spring of a generous contribution from Varant and Hoori Melkonian, the North San Fernando Valley Armenian Center was officially renamed Melkon and Angel Melkonian Youth Center after the parents of the well-known activists and benefactors during a ribbon-cutting on June 23 that was presided over by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
Attending the event, which was hosted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Arshavir Shiragian chapter, were ARF Bureau members Dr. Viken Yacoubian and Aram Kaloustian, ARF Western U.S. Central Committee members, community leaders, affiliate organization representatives and the Melkonian family.
The center, located on Chatsworth Boulevard in Granada Hills, was teeming with activity on that Sunday afternoon as the Melkonian family, headed by its matriarch Angel Melkonian, were joined by members of the Arshavir Shiragian chapter and community members to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was followed by a dinner in the center’s hall to mark this milestone.
Master of Ceremonies, ARF Arshavir Shiragian chapter member Toros Kejejian welcomed the guests and provided an overview of the chapter’s activities in the North San Fernando Valley. He noted that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the chapter’s establishment, so it is fitting that on this occasion the modest center that has been serving the community is being renamed after Melkon and Angel Melkonian, whose family members are proud members of the community.
The chairman of the ARF Arshavir Shiragian Chapter, Vatche Donoyan thanked Varant and Hoori Melkonian for their generous contribution and recounted the journey the chapter has experienced in bringing the North San Fernando Valley together. He was extremely candid in expressing the chapter’s gratitude to the Melkonians, who he said were very easy to work with and how renaming the center was a milestone in the 10-year history of the chapter.
“The ARF Arshavir Shiragian Gomideh expresses its deep gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Varant and Hoori Melkonian, stressing that future generations will always be grateful for their memorable gesture, because within the walls of this center, young Armenians will grow and flourish into leaders of this community. Leaders who will continue to work tirelessly work in the name of advancing the Armenian Nation, preserving the Armenian identity and the just pursuit of the Armenian Cause,” said Donoyan.
Similarly, Toros Kejejian (related to the Master of Ceremonies) praised Varant and Hoori Melkonian’s generosity when conveying the message of behalf of the ARF Central Committee of Western United States. [add quote].
“For decades, the extended Melkonian family has been a visible presence in this community through their moral and financial contributions, for which our gratitude is endless,” said the Kejejian, the ARF Central Committee representative.
“Especially, Varant and Hoori Melkonia, who dedicate an important portion of their personal successes to our Nation, because they are convinced that what they do is a National duty. They give where their heart and family are,” added Kejejian, who added that the community will encounter several centers, halls and institutions that have been made possible through Varant and Hoori Melkonian’s generosity.
Kejejian pointed out that Varant and Hoori Melkonian are not only benefactors but active leaders in various community organizations, adding through selfless commitment and immense humility they have generously given to advance the future of our Nation.
The most moving and powerful presentation came from the daughter-in-law of Angel and the late Melkon Melkonian, Arousyak Melkonian, who detailed the family’s humble beginnings in Iraq, explaining that even before she married Rafi Melkonian, the Melkonians had taken her in and raised her as their won.
She also recounted how Melkon Melkonian started the family business from scratch and through hard work, grew the business to become one of the major printing plants in Iraq. While Melkon was tending to and expanding the family business, Angel was raising their seven children. Yet, through it all, Arousyak Melkonian said, their doors were always open not only to family members but also for the entire Armenian community.
In an anecdote she recounted that when Varant Melkonian had already moved to the United States, his father Melkon said that he was not worried about Varant because he could take care of himself. Arousyak Melkonian explained that guiding force behind the Melkonian family was their willingness to give back to the community and the advancement of the new generation of Armenians.
Arousyak’s son, Melkon, who is a member of the ARF Western United States Central Committee, spoke on behalf of the younger generation of the Melkonians. He explained that his family had taught him the meaning of hard work and commitment to the community and the Armenian Nation, telling his younger relatives that success wasn’t measured by the amount of money one accumulates, but rather by how much an individual is willing to give back to the community and the advancement of the Armenian Nation.
Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian also presented his blessing and words of gratitude to Varant and Hoori Melkonian and the entire Melkonian family, singling out the family’s matriarch Angel, who, he said, has served as a beacon of inspiration and encouragement for the rest of the family, through her caring and devotion to the Armenian Nation.
A visibly moved Varant Melkonian took to the podium to offer his sincerest gratitude to his mother, his family and especially to his wife, Hoori, who he called his best friend and life partner. Varant Melkonian said that he did not anticipate that the evening would turn into such a fulfilling celebration of his family, adding that he has always been guided by his parents’ humility and generosity and their love for their nation.
Following the official program, the evening became an intimate celebration of one family’s commitment to the community and a community’s commitment to advance and gather generations under the umbrella of our national aspirations.