PHOENIX—Though three hundred and eighty miles away from Central Executive headquarters, the AYF Phoenix “Kedashen” chapter is spreading awareness of the “With Our Soldiers” campaign and raising funds. On August 25 the chapter hosted a dinner inviting community members to learn about and donate to efforts by the AYF in assisting veterans of the Artsakh War receive critical medical treatment. The Phoenix community rallied together and made donations to the campaign which will have a significant impact on the lives of dozens of Azadamardigs.
Thus far, twenty Azadamardigs have been treated whose conditions range from the need for eye prosthetics and hearing aids to surgeries to remove shrapnel. The treatment of Azadmardigs has been documented and made into an informational video. The video depicts the lives of the Azadamardigs and their struggles in obtaining medical care. The “With Our Soldiers” campaign is focused on bringing attention to these issues and forcing the Armenian government to resolve these problems. “The AYF chapters, both in Greater Los Angeles and in distant areas like Phoenix, have been instrumental in raising both funds and awareness about the Azadamardik campaign. Their contribution to this cause is significant, and we are very grateful for the work they have done, ” says Central Executive Chairperson David Arakelyan.
One hundred people were in attendance at the event including members from Southern California. Representatives from the Central Executive, Burbank “Varak” and Crescenta Valley “Zartonk” chapters traveled to Phoenix to attend the Azadamardig dinner. “The passion for our cause and organization ties us together and creates an undeniable bond between ungers, even though we are hundred of miles away,” says Rafi Orfali of the Burbank chapter. “We were proud to stand in solidarity with the Kedashen chapter as they held a fundraiser to help with the Azadamardig campaign.”
The AYF Central Executive has declared this year the “Year of the Azadamardig” with each of the west coast chapters having an active role in the campaign. Jack Ohanessian, chairperson of the Phoenix chapter says, “When we heard about the campaign we were very excited. The whole concept was so admirable; to help our soldiers who fought and served for us and our great nation. They rose up and took action, just like we will when the time comes. They suffered a lot. They are true Fedayis. This is the least we could have done for them. I want to thank everyone who contributed and supported us.”
For more information about the WOS campaign and further efforts to aid veterans of the Artsakh war, visit www.WithOurSoldiers.com.