LOWELL, Mass.—Sam Manoian Post # 1, Armenian-American Veterans of Lowell, has much to celebrate these days. With eight scholarship presentations to worthy high school graduates on Sept. 28, the group exceeded $150,000 in gifts—a milestone that ushered in loud applause during an annual dinner-dance inside the Kazanjian Memorial Pavilion of Sts. Vartanantz Church, attended by more than 200 guests.
As protocol had it, each students offered words of gratitude upon their presentation.
The sum extends covers some 130 students for more than 23 years. The Veterans are celebrating their 62nd year of existence and continue to be a viable force in the Merrimack Valley community.
“It’s a tradition that has been woven into the fabric of our community life,” said Commander Richard Juknavorian. “The future of our younger generation is a matter we take seriously. Anything we can do to enhance that goal will be encouraged.”
Honored this year were Alex Paroyian, Genna Kludjian, Tahleen Seifel, Taleen Kalajian, Spencer Dean, Laurel Kazanjian, Sam Balian, and Brett Duffy.
According to Scholarship chairman George Manuelian, many past recipients have graduated college, started careers, and showed their gratitude by contributing to this Menas Boghosian Scholarship Fund.
“The moral responsibilities they have exercised are exemplary,” said Manuelian. “It’s nice to know that we’ve contributed to their welfare with scholarship aid. We try to make it very personal. Parents and siblings become part of the celebration.”
The group’s history dates back to 1947 when Armenian-American veterans of World War II gathered at the Pine Street Potato Chip Company on Gorham St. and elected Menas Boghosian as their first commander.
The numbers grew enough to become officially chartered and in 1961, they joined the Veterans’ Council of Lowell.
Over the decades, they’ve served the Armenian-American community with diligence and pride, volunteering at veterans’ hospitals, assisting the indigent, sponsoring Christmas parties for children, and donating Easter baskets and Christmas toys to children. Roses are distributed after church services on Mother’s Day.
Members conduct special graveyard services for some 50 deceased Armenian-American veterans and have never missed a Memorial Day Parade or Armenian Genocide commemoration.
Just recently, the Lowell Veterans became a major sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Memorial project, which will soon place a remarkable “Mother’s Hands” monument at Lowell City Hall.
Many members of that organizing committee are veterans, including its chairman Armen Jeknavorian.
Members have served this country in World War 1, World War 2, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, and Iraq.
In 1975, the organization purchased a building and named it the Sam Manoian Post, honoring a devoted past commander. Ten years later, they erected a monument dedicated to the Armenian settlers who became a vital part of the Greater Lowell society.
“To all our deceased members, their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” added Juknavorian. “We dedicate our efforts to both the living and the dead. By honoring our youth, we’re investing in the future of this country.”