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(SAN DIEGO) – The Knights of Vartan, Gomidas Tahlij #43 of San Diego has donated a commissioned painting of St. Vartan and Ghevont Yeretz for the side altar of St. Sarkis Armenian Church, San Diego.

The painting by Armenian artist Tigran Hovumyan was dedicated and blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, and parish priest Very Rev. Father Pakrad Dz. V Berjekian, on Sunday, February 5, 2023, as part of St. Sarkis’ First Anniversary Celebration.

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Knights of Vartan Detroit Ships $503,000 Worth of Medical Supplies to Armenia

With the recent events taking place in Armenia and Artsakh, the Knights of Vartan Nareg-Shavarshan Lodge of Greater Detroit, in addition to their monetary donation to the Hayastan All Armenia Fund, felt it was necessary to do something more. Coincidently, one of the Lodge’s newest members, Greg Baise, approached Commander Kazar Terterian and proposed the idea of a possible donation of medical supplies from World Medical Relief (WMR) whose headquarters are located in Southfield, Michigan; it turns out, Baise, a Pharmacist by profession, is on the Board of Directors of the organization.

Nareg-Shavarshan Lodge would be responsible for the cost of a 40-foot container and its passage to New York, then the fee to ship it to Poti, Georgia and finally transporting it from the port to Yerevan which would total nearly $17,000.  Terterian contacted Past Grand Commander (PGC) Dr. Gary Zamanigian who was tasked with raising the funds necessary to get the medical supplies to Yerevan. The Lodge’s Commander then spoke to Peter Abajian, Executive Director of the Paros Foundation, and requested that he communicate with Armenia’s Minister of Health to determine the list of equipment needed and to facilitate the pickup and delivery of the container from Georgia to Armenia. The project proceeded covertly to assure safe delivery of the medical equipment which did in fact arrive in Yerevan on Thanksgiving Day.

Unaware that the container was going to Armenia, it was, within a few weeks, filled by WMR volunteers from St. John Armenian Church in Southfield with Ultrasound Machines, Centrifuges, Cardiac Monitors, Dialysis Machines, Wheelchairs, Surgical Instruments, Medications and because of the rising COVID 19 cases in Armenia, plenty of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) all provided through the generosity of WMR; the total shipment was valued at $503,000.

Finding a benefactor would pose an almost insurmountable problem because at this same time Nareg-Shavarshan Lodge was in the midst of another project to raise $25,000 to complete the renovation of the Knights of Vartan School #106 in Yerevan. During a conversation with Past Commander Howard Atesian, Dr. Zamanigian mentioned the WMR project and without even asking how much it would cost, Atesian said he would donate the funds necessary to get the container to Armenia i.e. the entire $17,000!

World Medical Relief is the ninth largest organization of its kind in the United States with an excellent rating. In addition to Greg Baise, Nareg-Shavarshan Lodge members would like to extend their sincere appreciation to Dr. George Sampson, President and CEO of World Medical Relief for his supervision and attention to this timely need of medical equipment in Armenia.

Medical Supplies Leave Michigan for Armenia
Left to right Dr. Gary Zamanigian, Howard Atesian, Kazar Terterian, Greg Baise.