The following message was delivered by Sonia Peltekian, Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Regional Executive Board Chairperson during the ARS of Western U.S.A., Mortgage Burning Gala, held at Universal City, California, on February 23, 2008:
The 517 West Glenoaks Boulevard, Glendale, California, became our very own and special Home in 1988. On December 4, the ARS Western Region opened the doors of the Nazigian Center. Our dream was realized to house the ARS Western Region’s Administration staff and Social Services to better serve our communities in this region.
But alas! Three days after the opening ceremonies, our nation faced a new calamity, the disastrous earthquake of Spitak in Armenia which took thousands of precious lives, followed by the war in Artsakh, which took more precious lives and left our country in ruins, and thousands of orphans and widowers. The ARS Nazigian Home became the center of operations, the rescue mission, the staff and volunteers worked around the clock to receive and dispatch donations to Armenia from the public at large.
In just a few years, the center became too small to house the ever expanding humanitarian and Social Services, and the plans were underway to expand our counseling services. In 1998, the RE purchased the adjacent property and the three shops next to the Center expanding its real-estate; and in less then two years demolished and rebuild the new center.
Today, we have come to let our members and supporters witness the burning of our final mortgage. We had two mortgages and a balloon payment.
We are indebted to all our 26 Chapters, ARS members and our staff, for their dedication and countless volunteer hours, as well as to all our benefactors, sponsors and friends; without their financial support, this tremendous work would not have been possible. This commitment of growth and leadership is based upon this vital partnership.
Since its inception in New York City, New York, in 1910, ARS members have dedicated their lives and have given from their hearts to serve their communities in emergency assistance, humanitarian services, social services, counseling, educating the youth and have faced numerous challenges and overcome many obstacles. Our members were able to fulfill and meet these challenges because of its grass roots donors and the unwavering support of our present and past benefactors.
We thank our benefactors, sponsors and members for their generous contributions and are confident that you will continue supporting our endeavors for the next one-hundred years. We would also like to thank the ways and means committee Liaison Ung. Seda Khodjayan vice-chair Regional Executive, Ung. Nanig Kupelian chair and all the members and program participants who made this event possible.
Special thanks to Ung. Jasik Boniatian and Bianca Manoukian for their efforts in preparing today’s video presentation.
Thank you for making our dreams come true!