GLENDALE – On Wednesday, May 17th , more than three hundred guests, including local elected officials and community leaders as well as representatives of various community organizations, gathered to celebrate the work and achievements of the Armenian National Committee of America Glendale Chapter’s awardees, Susan Hunt, Naz Atikian, John Bandek, Zareh Issakhanian, Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Alice Petrossian, at the ANCA Glendale’s Annual Awards and Appreciation Dinner. The evening was highlighted by a superlative donation of $50,000 by Mr. and Mrs. Zareh and Melina Issakhanian.
Amongst notable guests were LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Glendale City Mayor Vartan Gharpetian, along with Councilmembers Zareh Sinanyan, Ara Najarian and Paula Devine. Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian, and Glendale Deputy Fire Chief Bill Lynch. As well as, Crescenta Valley Town Council President Harry Leon, Glendale Unified School District Board of Education President Nairy Nahabedian, and board members Dr. Armine Gharpetian, Jennifer Freemon and Shant Sahakian, GUSD Assistant Superintendents, Dr. Jacqueline Perez and Dr. Maria Gandera, Glendale Community College Board of Trustees President Dr. Armine Hacopian and newly elected Trustee Yvette Vartanian Davis. Several commissionaires, as well as representatives from twenty different community organizations were in attendance.
Representatives from the offices of Congressman Adam Schiff, Senator Anthony Portantino, and Assemblyman Laura Friedman were also present with special certificates recognizing the achievements of the honorees.
Held at Impressions Banquet Hall in Glendale, California, the event kicked off at 7PM with the national anthems of the United States of America & The Republic of Armenia, performed by Hoover High School Senior, Mrrik Noubarentz.
Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, conducted the invocation for the evening, conveying his blessings and message to the organization and honorees. His Eminence commended the members of the ANCA Glendale Chapter for their tireless work and wished them continued successes in their important mission. He commended also the honorees for their individual service for the benefit of the collective and hoped that they inspire others to take action in their example. Finally, the Prelate thanked the elected officials and sponsors for their continued solidarity and support.
Master of Ceremonies, former chairwoman of ANCA-Glendale, Bianca Manoukian, welcomed guests and thanked all those that made the evening possible. In an attempt to recount the history of the Armenian-American community of Glendale, Manoukian took the time to point out many of the attendees, whose community involvement & leadership, in various capacities, was instrumental in creating the history of the Armenian-American Community of the Jewel City.
“…so you see my friends, no matter which corner of this room I look at, no matter who I see, I see a story. A story that is part of the fabric of the tapestry of our beautiful community. There can not be a story about Glendale & its Armenian-American community without my story, without your story, without his & her stories, & without our stories. Together, we have come very far in a very short period of time. We have learned about the beauty of our diversity & the importance of our unity. We, together, all of us, have put our beautiful city, the Jewel City, on the map of the world”.
During dinner, a digital program showcased the past accomplishments and on-going projects of ANCA Glendale, including but not limited to voter education through the Hye Votes initiative, Genocide Education in collaboration with the GUSD, Camp Darfur, community outreach programs such as food drives, pro bono legal counseling, blood drives, meet and greet events with elected officials, electoral process and much more, while the guests enjoyed live music performance by renowned world saxophonist Mr. Arshag Hintirian.
Mrs. Manoukian introduced LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and invited her on stage. In her remarks supervisor Barger mentioned the declaration of the month of April as Armenian Cultural and Heritage month, acknowledged the contributions Armenian Americans have made to LA County and informed guests that the Board of Supervisors has made Armenian Genocide recognition a legislative priority.
The presentation of awards was divided into two parts with a comedic act by local comedian Ara Basil splitting the ceremony. Mrs. Manoukian introduced the tireless work and countless accomplishments of each awardee, the ANCA Glendale Chairman, Board and Community Outreach Director presented the awards to the respective awardees, along with certificates of recognition from the offices of Congressman Adam Schiff, Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblyman Laura Friedman, LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Glendale City Mayor Vartan Gharpetian and Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The ANCA – Glendale Community Service Award was presented to Susan Hunt for her dedication to raising the quality of life within our community, her selfless contributions and service to the ongoing welfare of the community-at-large. Joined by friends and members from Soroptimist Glendale, where she is a member and served as its President, Susan Hunt recalled an anecdote about serving on the Wilson Middle School PTA along with many Armenian mothers who she felt completely at home with despite the fact that she did not speak Armenian.
The ANCA – Glendale Golden Heart Award was presented to Naz Atikian for her compassion towards and care of the less fortunate, her dedication and readiness to help fellow mankind and for the impact she has made on people’s’ lives. Joined by her friends, family and members from the Armenian Relief Society and Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, Naz Atikian gave a tearful thanks to her family and friends who have and continue to support her every step.
The ANCA-Glendale Youth Activist Award was presented to Clark Magnet High School Senior, John Bandek for his commendable leadership, extensive record of activism, and engagement in both the community and classroom. In his remarks John Bandek, a cubscout master at Homenetmen Shant Chapter as well as an active member of the Armenian Youth Federation’s Glendale Roupen Chapter, thanked Chamlian Armenian School for providing him with a great educational foundation, GUSD and Clark Magnet High School for granting him countless opportunities, and a special thanks to Clark Magnet Principle, Lena Kortoshian for her guidance and leadership. Fellow members of the Armenian Youth Federation’s Glendale Roupen Chapter presented John with the award.
The ANCA – Glendale Hye Tahd Award was presented to Zareh Issakhanian for his exemplary dedication, unwavering support and selfless contribution to the betterment of Armenian-American community in Glendale. His two young children, Andrea and Erik joined him on stage and congratulated their father, with tearful eyes, for his contributions to the community in Glendale as well as in Armenia. Mr. Issakhanian thanked his mother, remembered the memory of his late father, and thanked his wife and children for their encouragement, boundless support and understanding.
The ANCA – Glendale Maria Jacobsen Humanitarian Award was presented to Glendale Adventist Medical Center, its administration and staff for their devotion to the welfare of humanity by eliminating the suffering and pain of the less fortunate throughout the City of Glendale and internationally. President and CEO of Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Kevin A. Roberts accepted the award on behalf of the hospital, and invited members of the Adventists Mission on stage to be recognized. Mr. Roberts stated how humbled he was to receive the Maria Jacobson Humanitarian Award having recently learned about thousands of lives Maria Jacobsen, who was a Danish Missionary saved during the Armenian Genocide. Mr. Roberts emphasized how thankful he was to the Glendale Adventists Missionaries for their selfless devotion to serving the people on the border town of Noyemberyan, Armenia. He also thanked the Armenian community supporters & the Armenia Fund who make the medical missions possible with their generous donations & support.
The ANCA – Glendale highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Alice Petrossian for the exemplary contributions she has made towards the enrichment of our community throughout her lifetime,as well as her dedication to public service, beyond the call of duty. Mrs. Petrossian, who currently serves as the President of the Los Angeles Commissioner for Women, and the ANCA Western Region Education Committee, extended her gratitude to her family, attributed her love for volunteering and activism to her two grandmothers who were active Armenian Relief Society members, and her parents who were activists all their lives. She thanked her husband for empowering and standing by her side through so many years. Mrs. Petrossian recollected being one of the only eight Armenian families living in Glendale, 50 years ago and founding the Armenian Youth Federation Tehlerian Junior Chapter, never imagining that she would one day stand amongst 300 and be recognized for her service. Her heartfelt thanks resonated with everyone in the hall.
ANCA Glendale Chairman, Artin Manoukian delivered the closing remarks of the evening. He stated: “We are a city that prides itself in the various communities that reside within it, the various groups who sacrifice their time and energy in leaving Glendale better off than when they found it. Today, the ANCA Glendale board, family, and the Armenian community at large stand before you as one of these components. The decades of work and service Armenian Americans have done within this city is a point of pride for all of us. A community, which faced oppression and genocide, called this city home. The strongest Armenian community outside of the Republic of Armenia did not locate to Glendale by chance, it was the character of this city that drew an entire nation within its borders. Our community flourished in Glendale, and never took it for granted. Its contributions to the city’s cultural, economic, and political development is noticed by anyone who passes through our great city. We are thankful to all the residents, community institutions, and leadership who welcomed us with open arms.”
The evening concluded with a surprise announcement by the chairman, as he said:
“Before I step off, I would like to call your attention to one of the gems of our Jewel city. Many have invested their personal time and resources to the betterment of our community, and it is through their generosity that we have been able to grown & are able to continue to expand the scope of our work. With this said, I would like to announce the munificent donation of Fifty Thousand dollars from the silent soldier of Hye Tahd Zareh Issakhanian & his lovely wife Melina.”
The audience welcomed this announcement with much joy & enthusiasm as the evening came to its end. As they left the banquet hall with renewed optimism and determination to continue their support of the ANCA- Glendale, they vowed to remain determined in the collective pursuit of the Armenian Cause, as well as the betterment of the lives of citizens of the Jewel City.
The ANCA-Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.