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By Asbed David Medzorian

A who’s who of dignitaries, friends, family members, and colleagues gathered on November 17th to wish Nakhgin Sbarabed Jack Medzorian a happy ninety-third birthday and to thank him for his service to Armenians and to Armenia which he and his wife Eva have visited nearly one hundred times since 1972.

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Veratarts Hayrenik III, September 2018

In September 2018 Knights and Daughters of Vartan organized “Veratarts Hayrenik” Mission trip to Armenia: answering the call of ancestors and lighting the steps of our children’s future. We may dwell in other places due to faith or even choice but our duty is to connect our children with Armenia and visiting the homeland is the first step of it.

This year Knights of Vartan leadership including Grand Commander Dr. Gary Zamanigian, Past Grand Commander Steve Kradjian, Past Grand Matron Sona Manuelian, Grand Associate Matron Salpy Mankerian and Grand Secretary Taline Mankerian Kedjidjian including the organizers Commander Hunan Arshakyan and Commander Tigran Sahakyan and forty plus members traveled to Armenia from September 16-22, as a delegation to meet with dignitaries and visit the many service projects supported by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.

Meeting with the RoA President, US Ambassador and Diaspora Minister

The trip was a historic one as leaders met with the President of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, to discuss current and future service projects of the KDV. The leadership also met with the US Ambassador to Armenia, Richard M. Mills, whom AS Gary presented the book “The Killing Orders” by Taner Akcam and the Diaspora Minister, Mkhitar Hayrapetyan. All meetings led to productive, insightful and progressive talks for the betterment of Armenia via the contributions of the KDV.

Meeting with the Universities

KDV priorities education of future generations and any possible way tires to support Armenian students both in the USA and in Armenia. For over 10 years the KDV supported more than 10 students per year in two major universities of Yerevan: the Yerevan State University and Yerevan Polytechnic University by granting $250 for each student. These partnerships will continue during current year and a new partnership is added, the American University of Armenia. During this trip the KDV leadership met with the universities to reconfirm the partnerships.

Planting a Tree at Genocide Memorial

On September 16, the KDV group visited Holy Etchmiatsin for Badarag and Genocide Memorial to visit the Museum and plant an ever green tree next to a plaque in the name of KDV dedicated to Genocide martyrs. By placing a wreath next to the memorial the group prayed for the souls of victims and pledged to keep their faith alive and pass it to next generation.


Renovating a Kindergarten in Aparan City

On September 17, the group visited a Knights of Vartan supported kindergarten in Aparan with $320,000 in donations coming from KV and the World Bank and renovation implemented by ATDF, making it the largest project in Aparan, serving 120 students. The delegation was met by the deputy mayor of Aparan as they were led to the newly renovated auditorium to watch a wonderful recital by the kindergarten and other local school children. At the end of the visit the KDV members raised/pledged over $6,000 for the remaining items (after full renovation and furnishing by the ATDF and donors) such as kitchenware, beddings, playground etc. The day ended with a wonderful dinner reception hosted by the gracious Arshakyan family who are residents of Aparan and San Diego, CA and who are KDV members.

Supporting Tavush Borderline Villages: “Vardan Mamikonyan“ Sport and Cultural Center

On September 18 majority of group members, despite the earlier shooting info, still traveled to borderline Tavush region villages of Paravakar, Aygepar, Berd and Verin Karmiraghbyur villages. With the support of Commander Tigran Sahakyan of Mamigonian lodge, the lodge members and Commander’s friends from Armenia around $200,000 investments were made through years to build “Vartan Mamikonyan” Sport and Cultural Complex in Verin Karmiraghbyur village to serve children of 7 neighboring communities.  The complex includes a soccer field, a basketball court, a swimming pool and an outdoor amphitheater in the region of Tavush. The center will provide much needed after school activities free of charge for the region including swimming lessons, which the children of Tavush have never had.

“Medzorian Children Choir” In Berd

In Berd community the group visited St. Hovhannes church where children performed for guests. At this meeting Fr. Aram Mirzoyan announced that the Choir is named “Eva Medzorian Children Choir” honoring ND Eva Medzorian who along with NS Jack Medzorian supported the choir and Sunday school both financially and spiritually for number of years.

Ijevan Musical School Opening

On September 19, the delegation attended the opening of the newly remodeled Ijevan Music School, where they were met with traditional Armenian music with dahoul zurna instruments and the dear children leading them to their new auditorium where they performed on many different instruments. The fundraising for the renovations was spearheaded by Past Matron Barbara Haroutunian of Detroit, Michigan after being overcome with sadness with the disrepair of the school during her visit last summer. For two years Mrs. Haroutunian visited Ijevan and with two more friends taught English language at the local University. This project was initiated by Mrs. Narine Aghasaryan a friend of Mrs. Haroutunian. This friendship led to another project: Ijevan school renovation. Mrs. Haroutunian single handedly collected more than $24,000 which helped to renovate the school, replays the windows and doors and install heating system for the school. When the delegation entered the music school on this trip, they were overcome with gratitude by the staff to the donors for their ability to make the school a better place for the precious Armenian children.

The same day another group of KV led by Sb Tigran Sahakyan visited 102 school in Yerevan where Sb supported to renovate the restrooms and placed a water fountain in the school “Dedicated to Sam Azadian and those who serve the Armenian nation worldwide”.

On September 20, the delegation was delighted to visit the Knights of Vartan School #106 in Yerevan city. Under the leadership of Principal Marine Vardanyan, the KDV was treated to a beautiful presentation featuring the 2,800th Anniversary of Yerevan City by the school children. The KOV supported many renovations to the school. During the visit the group planted an evergreen tree next by the school as well for everlasting friendship.

Fuller Center for Housing. On September 22, the delegation was honored and delighted to attend the home blessing of the Dzhumyan family in Nor Gyugh village Kotayk region. The family of five with the elder grandmother had been living in a metal container (Domik) for twelve years. With the assistance of Fuller Center for Housing Armenia and KV generous donation of $10,500 the house was built. NAD Sona Manuelian and NS Leo Manuelian of New Jersey led a team of volunteers in summer who built side by side with the family. The family is now living in a beautiful brand new home.

The trip was concluded with a Banquet attended by eighty Knights and Daughters of Vartan at the beautiful Megerian Carpet Museum with appreciation given to those who have made contributions to the realization of the many service projects that have given hope and changed so many lives in our Motherland. During this gala event many of the partner organizations received certificate of appreciation. The certificates were beautifully designed by David Jamgotchian, Tbrabed of Sevan Lodge.  The article was provided by Grand Secretary Taline Kedjidjian and Liaison Gohar Palyan.