By Ari N.
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Providence Homenetmen chapter celebrated its 35th anniversary on Sat., June 4, at Venus de Milo in Swansea, with a gala banquet and dance. Among the honored guests were Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee member Levon Attarian, Homenetmen Eastern Regional Executive member Vicken Khatchadourian, Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Eastern Regional Executive member Talin Mkrtschjan, Archpriest Father Gomidas Baghsarian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, and Father Kapriel Nazarian, assistant pastor, as well as local church affiliated and sister organization representatives.
There were more than 200 people in attendance and the night started off with a procession of the Providence Homenetmen Scouts marching band and flag-bearers. Raffi Rachdouni and Menar Tarbinian led the crowd with the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Mer Hairenik” and “Harach Nahadag.” After Der Gomidas blessed the food, a moment of silence was held for the souls of the founding fathers of Homenetmen.
Siran Krikorian and Rachdouni were the emcees of the evening. They welcomed the honored guests of the evening and members of the ARF, Homenetmen, ARS, Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Hamazkayin, Sts. Vartanantz Church, the Providence Homenetmen executive, and the 35th anniversary committee under the chairmanship of Hrant Khatchadourian.
Before the dinner, a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Harout Arakelian (from California; a former member and scout of Providence Homenetmen) was shown, displaying pictures from various athletic, scouting, and social events from the past 35 years of the Providence chapter.
Next, Providence Homenetmen executive chairman Sarkis Tarpinian gave a speech and presented awards to members of the Providence Homenetmen Chapter who had held the records for most years served on the executive board since the chapter’s founding: Hamo Rachdouni (8 years), Anahid Attarian (9 years and the first ever female chairperson), Sarkis Tarpinian (13 years), Harout Taraksian (15 years), and Christapor Krikorian (18 years; the most served member). In addition, plaques praising the vision and relentless efforts of the only four remaining founding fathers of the Providence Homenetmen Chapter were presented, with the number of years served in the Providence Executive noted: Rosdom Jawharjian (1 year), Sarkis Yepremian (9 years), Sarkis Minassian (10 years), and Hagop Khatchadourian (11 years).
Father Baghsarian praised the founders, members, and all of the supporters for their 35 years of efforts. Today, the Providence community benefits from the members of Homenetmen and in particular the scouts’ participation in all community functions, especially serving on the altar.
Vicken Khatchadourian, a representative of the Homenetmen Eastern Regional Executive, congratulated the Providence community for its unyielding dedication that has resulted in successful accomplishments today and over the past 35 years. In addition, he bestowed Service Medals (Dzarayoutyan Shekaneshan) onto all four founding fathers, after presenting a short bio for each: Rosdom Jawharjian, Sarkis Yepremian, Sarkis Minassian, and Hagop Khatchadourian.
Jawharjian was born in Aleppo, Syria, where he became a member of the Homenetmen as a scout and athlete, and a member of the soccer teams. In Providence, he served as vice-chair of the senior executive. Until this day, he is a loyal member of the Providence Homenetmen.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Yepremian joined Homenetmen as an athlete, both as a bodybuilder and weight-lifter. He served as a member of the Providence Homenetmen executive board in various capacities: head of athletics, treasurer, and chair. He continues to bring his active participation to numerous community activities.
Minassian was born in Aleppo, where he became a member of Homenetmen as a scout and athlete. He also played soccer with the Antranig team in Lebanon. In Providence, he served as a scout leader; he played soccer and later acted as soccer coach. He has also served as chair of the Providence chapter, and on the athletic and tournament committees. He also served on the regional athletics committee.
Khatchadourian was born in Aleppo, where he became a Homenetmen scout and athlete. In Providence, he has served as a board member, chair, and membership meeting chair, and has organized sport tournaments and regional panagoums hosted by the Providence chapter. He has also served as a member of the Homenetmen regional executive, a liaison for the “Marzig” publication, and a delegate to Homenetmen General World Congresses held in Lebanon and Armenia.
After the program, singer Zareh Kasbarian from Washington and his band entertained the crowd with great music and lively dancing. The evening ended with the singing of heghapokhagan songs.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West