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The Knights of Vartan Vahan Lodge #44, Orange County California, recently completed a fundraising activity specifically for the purpose of making a contribution to the mission of the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia. The fundraising activity, a raffle with cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, culminated in a raffle drawing held on May 3, in the presence of a large majority of the Vahan Lodge Tivan members, including Commander Anton Markarian; of course, all were fully compliant with social distancing criteria and personal health safety guidelines!

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Hurricane Sandy Response

The East Coast suffered such terrible devastation during Hurricane Sandy that I could not help but think of our Brother’s and Sister’s after seeing all the news media and the damage done to our coast line.

Yes our home was in the mist of the storm as well. However, our home still stands and is without damage.  As for our Brothers and Sisters of the Knights and the Daughters of Vartan, some did not do well at all.  As soon as power was restored I approached the Sbarabed of Bakradouny Lodge and told him of my idea.  You see it is the Otyag and Lodges tradition to collect for the needy every Thanksgiving.  This year however I sought to change that into collecting for a Sister and Brother who suffered serious damage to their homes.  The Sbarabed was in agreement and I also put it in my newsletter for our Otyag. I also sent several e-mails asking our Brothers and Sisters in New York if they knew of anyone. Due to this super storm, there were at least 111 homes burned to the ground.  Brooklyn and Staten Island were inundated with ocean water from the storm surge, as high as 6 to 10 feet.  I was so adamant in helping one of our own that  I also took this to the chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Inter-lodge.  I also notified our Avak Dirouhie and our GDR. In turn the whole of the Daughters and the Knights of Vartan came together to assist our Brothers and Sisters.  During this time I was notified that there was a Sister in need. I notified the Avak Dirouhie on what we planned to do. I must tell you that within a week I received a large donation from a woman in California to be sent to the Sister who had suffered damage to her home. At the same time the Mid-Atlantic at their meeting sent out a cry for help as well.  At Mamigonian and Anahid Otyag’s Thanksgiving dinner a collection was taken up, for there was a brother in dire need as well.  These two families have been so affected by the storm they can no longer live in their home and do not know when they will be able to do. We all know how insurance and FEMA work, it will take months before they can return to their homes, given the amount of devastation suffered. They are now living with relatives.  Their lives have been turned upside down. Cars ruined, homes ruined everyday life not as it was. In order to start them on the path to recovery early a campaign was started.  I would like to thank the Sister from California for her generous donation. I thank the Avak Sbarabed his Tivan, Avak Dirouhie and the Avak Khorurt, the GDR’s and all the Otyag’s and the lodges for donating and keeping this organization for what it is; a Sisterhood and a Brotherhood.  This is what we do for our Brothers and Sisters in need. May God bless all who have helped.

Dirouhie Sona Manuelian

Sahaganoush Otyag #24