DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.—It wasn’t always business as usual at the 92nd annual ARS Convention.
News of a death in the community sent a shockwave through the delegation of 41 members and executive mainstays who had convened that morning.
Talin Daghlian, a 33-year member of the organization and prominent leader, had lost her father.
With her hands buried in her face, she rose to acknowledge the gesture.
Thomas Nakashian was 86 and enjoyed the beauty of 7 children, 16 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren while living in New York. He was employed as a chauffeur and worked diligently to ensure the higher education of his family. Nakashian was also a Gomideh member in Syria and belonged to the Homenetmen and Soorp Sarkis Church.
His wife Zabel had been a 50-year member of the ARS before passing just short of their 60th wedding anniversary.
“After losing my mother, he had some heart issues,” Daghlian revealed. “A woman from Armenia was caring for him, along with a daughter.”
Distraught and visibly shaken, Daghlian held her post as a special guest and carried out her responsibilities dutifully, knowing the situation was in good hands back home with her family. An immediate flight home might have also been a rigmarole.
“My dad would have wanted me to remain,” Daghlian said. “He was very proud of my ARS work and always encouraged me to continue working for this fine organization. If I had left the convention, I feel as if I would have let him down.”
The solace and comfort she received from her ARS sisters, and her focus on the work ahead, was just the right panacea for the woman to combat her grief.
But it was déjà vu for Daghlian. She recalled the past with deep sentiment.
“When I was ill with breast cancer in 2005, my ARS sisters were there for me,” she said. “They sent me cards, made telephone calls, and sent messages of support. I’d get 100 e-mails a day. It was shocking, yet stimulating. And, once again, they came to my side in this moment of distress. The gratitude I share cannot be measured.”
Daghlian resides in Old Tappan, N.J., and is a member of the “Agnouni” Chapter. She served as chairwoman and treasurer, attending this conclave as a guest of the Regional Board, taking a seat next to Agnouni Award winner Muriel Parseghian from Lowell, Mass.
She and husband Zohrab have three daughters, all AYF pedigrees. The two have been married 40 years.
Talin Daghlian is a graduate of the American University in Beirut with a nursing degree, which she used before becoming a full-time mom. After arriving here from Syria in 1972, she became involved with the Armenian community and served as co-director of the Sunday School at St. Vartanantz Church.
Among her pet projects was—and still is—the ACAA raffle.
“I was with my father just before I left for the convention,” Daghlian said wistfully. “He was happy I was attending. My husband broke the news to me on my cell and I shared it with my ungerouhis. I was angry and disappointed I couldn’t be home. On the other hand, my father’s pride at me being here would have been diminished. We had three delegates from our chapter and I didn’t want to let them down, either.”
Daghlian remained at her seat throughout Saturday and took a flight home Sunday, just before the convention adjourned. Over that time, she was vocal and embodied the true spirit of her organization as if the weight had suddenly been lifted from her shoulders.
“It’s very comforting to be surrounded by your ungerouhis in a moment of sadness,” she admitted. “It was the place to be at a time like this.”
Daghlian described her dad as a very religious man who regularly attended events in New York and New Jersey.
“He’s someone who went the extra mile to serve his church and community,” said Daghlian.
Those close to the scene say Talin Daghlian has been an exemplary member of the ARS who has never shunned an opportunity to enhance the organization. She helped inspire such projects as Walk Armenia and the auction.
“Without the ARS, my life would be empty,” she confessed. “Hopefully, I’ve been able to give something back with my service. When I see all the assistance we’re rendering throughout the world with our many projects, it gives us every reason to continue. I’ll always do my best to help.”