BY DR. MARIA COZETTE
“That painting behind you? Six soldiers painted it after the liberation of Shushi in 1992. For us, that’s priceless,” said co-founder of Veterans of Armenia Fred Sarkisyan. It spoke to the altruism of this Armenian-American collective. What began as a friendship transformed into a lifelong unified commitment to help Veterans in Armenia rehabilitate and reacclimatize to normalcy post-war.
Their motto, “No Soldier Left Behind,” is articulated through five projects: Home 4 Heroes, Soldier to Scholar, Veterans’ Therapy Treatment, Veterans’ Hospital of Armenia, and the Artsakh Karate Project. Each program is thoughtfully crafted to meet specific needs of Veterans. Their remarkable initiatives were worked on simultaneously in the past two years, touching the lives of hundreds of Veterans from all regions of Armenia and Artsakh.
Veterans of Armenia Foundation seeks to enable everyone around the world to create a meaningful impact in the motherland. The mission was born after observing the efforts of global Armenians during the Artsakh War of 2020. “The war started, everyone wanted to help, and people connected in a way I never imagined,” said co-founder Armen Adamyan. “It was beautiful…Throughout the following months, we noticed that while Armenians were diligently working towards a common cause, the same type of assistance was being replicated. VOA decided to focus exclusively on the Veterans affairs and so the real work began,” he added.
To date, the organization has raised over $500,000 through several fundraisers including special events, drives, and cultivating resources from both benefactors in the United States and VOA’s satellite team in Armenia. The Board of Trustees describes the interest and engagement of the local Los Angeles community as ‘unreal’ as hundreds of volunteers expressed their support of this reputed organization, oftentimes upon days after initiating an upcoming fundraiser. They attribute most of their success to the unwavering support of their community. A young foundation that had earned the respect and credibility they worked tirelessly to gain, but things were about to reach new heights.
In 2021, VOA received the “GuideStar – Platinum Seal of Transparency” award, which is awarded to non-profit organizations that demonstrate outstanding accountability and trustworthiness. The Platinum Seal of Transparency is the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information.
This notable seal would give the global Armenian community greater reason to believe in the work they do and join VOA’s mission of improving lives of thousands of Armenians impacted by the wars.
Inspired by the unparalleled endurance of Armenian soldiers and a persisting dream to advance the future of Armenia, VOA continues to move forward steadfast. The organization is modestly comprised of 23 members, but the radiance of their patriotism shines as bright as hundreds. It is in their mental fortitude; the way in which they have broken barriers to deliver aid to Armenian Veterans. The foundation’s unequivocal passion is evident in their accomplishments thus far and more notably, in their integrity.
The founders of VOA mention that the pillars of their excellence are that VOA seeks to enable Armenians around the world to create meaningful impact in the motherland. They work directly with hospitals and organizations that are taking care of soldiers and Veterans in Armenia and Artsakh. Thanks to the generosity of the donors and supporters, they completed numerous projects and strive to accomplish even more.