NEW YORK—The Mid-Atlantic Knights and Daughters of Vartan will hold their Third Annual Awards Dinner on Sat., March 27, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) at Kavookjian Hall in New York.
The Lifetime Humanitarian Benefactor Award will be presented to Anoush Mathevosian and Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Suzanne Toufayan, three deserving figures in the Armenian community who have actively and continuously supported both their homeland and the Armenian Diaspora in countless ways.
Born in Egypt to the son of a baker, Harry Toufayan, immigrated to the U.S. in 1963 with his parents. He continued his family’s baking tradition by opening up his first plant in West New York, N.J. in 1968. In 1973, he moved operations from West New York to North Bergen where the business flourished over the next three decades. As Toufayan Bakeries continued to expand, he once again moved his business to its current location in Ridgefield where his plant now comprises 115,000 square feet and employs 250 people. He opened two more plants in Orlando, Fla. in 1985 and Plant City in 2006, which combined employ over 500 people.
Harry and Suzanne Toufayan have been active and long-time supporters of Armenia and Armenian organizations. They funded the Youth Center in Etchmiadzin and are the benefactors of St. Haroutun Church in Orlando Florida (named after Harry Toufayan’s father) which will be completed in April 2010. They are also the major benefactors of an upcoming expansion of St. Mary Armenian Church in Livingston, N.J. In addition, the church hall at St. Mary’s is named after Harry Toufayan’s parents. Harry and Suzanne Toufayan have also been generous supporters of the Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey program since its inception over 30 years ago.
Toufayan married his wife Suzanne, a registered nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, in 1969 at the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church in Bayside, Queens. They have three children—Karen, Kristine, and Gregory, who are all involved in the family business—and seven grandchildren.
Anoush Mathevosian was born in Iran in 1926, the daughter of a priest, and one of eight children. She immigrated to the U.S. for her college education and received her nursing license in New York. She then graduated from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and worked as a nurse for 16 years.
In the 1960’s, Mathevosian started a successful real estate business with her sister. Over the years, she has supported Armenia in many ways. In 1997, she funded Camp Siranoush in Yeghegnadzor. The purpose was to have a campsite for children whose parents had died in the Karabagh war. In 2002, she built the Mathevosian School in Vanadzor. She also started the Mathevosian Scholarship in conjunction with the Fund for Armenian Relief, which provides scholarships to students in Armenia who want to pursue a college education.
In addition, Mathevosian has been a supporter of the Armenian-American Cultural Association and its humanitarian project in Armenia, the Armenian American Wellness Center. She has also been a trustee of the Armenian Assembly of America and Board Member of the Armenian National Institute, and a longtime supporter of the Fund for Armenian Relief.
Serving as master of ceremonies for the Awards Dinner will be Prof. Dennis Papazian, professor emeritus and founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He was also the founding director of the Armenian Assembly of America and is an active member of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), where he has served as a member and officer of the Diocese Council.
Special entertainment for the evening will be provided by the Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble of St. Thomas Armenian Church in Tenafly, N.J. The group, founded in 1994 by a group of parents so their children could maintain their Armenian heritage in the United States, now consists of over 80 young Armenian boys and girls. The Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble has performed around the country and is under the leadership of director and choreographer Sylva Asadourian.
The 2010 Knights and Daughters of Vartan Annual Awards Dinner will be held at Kavookjian Hall, 630 Second Ave. in New York City. The cocktail reception is at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program and dinner at 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, call Shake at (718) 729-7265.