37th Homenetmen Navasartian Games Officially Kick OffMr. & Mrs. Gagik and Madine Gevorkian Named Honorary Presidents; Maro Kechichian named "Exemplary Homenetmen Member".
ENCINO - A series of events officially kicked off the much-anticipated 37th Annual Homenetmen Navasartian Games on Saturday, May 12. Standing before the Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church, Rev. Razmig Khatchadourian commenced the opening by blessing the Navasartian torch, which was then handed to a team of athletes, representing Homenetmen chapters, by Regional Executive Vice-Chairperson Pierre Manoukian.
Alongside Manoukian, Regional Executive Board member Vicken Dakessian, who is heading the Navasartian Organizing Committee; Exemplary Homenetmen members; chapter representatives; athletes, parents, and guests gathered in enthusiasm to support the start of another exciting year of Navasartian games.
With the Navasartian torch raised high, the athletes carried it to Birmingham High School, where the opening ceremony would be held. Suzy Ohanian MC-ed the program, which began with a call for a moment of silence to honor the memories of departed Homenetmen members. A flag ceremony led by Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter scouts ensued by marching with the American, Armenian, Republic of Artsakh, State of California, Homenetmen, and Navasartian flags.
In her welcoming remarks, Ohanian paid special mention to the importance and impactful nature of the Navasartian Games. She then recognized the guests in attendance, including Rev. Fr. Gomidas Torossian, who attended on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Homenetmen Central Executive member Viken Tavitian; ARS Regional Executive Vice-Chairperson Carmen Libaridian; 2011 Exemplary Homenetmen Member Roupen Gourjian; honorary presidents and exemplary Homenetmen members from years past, as well as executive and chapter members.
The team of athletes delivering the Navasartian torch entered the grounds with loud applause from attendees and passed it to Regional Executive Chairperson Garnik Abrahamian, whose acceptance of the torch marked the official start of the Navasartian season.
On behalf of the athletes, who will participate in the forthcoming games, Homenetmen “Azadamard” member Alik Marselian and “Shant” member Shant Ohanian recited the athlete’s oath. Following this recitation, Abrahamian made two special announcements. He declared Mr. & Mrs. Gagik and Madine Gevorkian as Navasartian’s Honorary Presidents this year and Maro Kechichian as Exemplary Homenetmen Member. Both announcements received a warm and wholehearted response from the audience. (Informative articles regarding the title recipients will be published separately)
Although Mr. & Mrs. Gevorkian were unable to attend the ceremony, Maro Kechichian addressed guests and expressed her sincere appreciation for being bestowed with the honor. She spoke of the opportunities awarded to her through Homenetmen to be able to help re-establish chapters in Armenia, the collaborative efforts that contribute to the organization’s success, and in her closing remarks expressed promise to continue serving in Homenetmen with strength and vigor.
Abrahamian delivered the Regional Executive Board’s remarks and highlighted that the start of Navasartian coincided with the 20th Anniversary of the liberation of Shushi and Mother’s Day weekend. He stressed that Homenetmen will continue to bring together Armenian youth in order for them to remain drawn to their community and to persist as the driving force of the organization.
After Rev. Fr. Torossian delivered his blessings, a series of all-star games followed, which were dedicated to the memory of Rima Abedi-Sagherian, a former member of the Homenetmen Regional Executive.