Homenetmen of New Jersey Scouts Meet Artsakh War Hero Major Sargis Stepanyan

The Homenetmen scouts with Major Stepanyan (Photo: Homenetmen N.J.)

RIDGEFIELD, N.J. (A.W.)—The Homenetmen of New Jersey Scouts had the honor of meeting with Major Sargis Stepanyan and his wife Armine on April 21. A triple amputee, Artsakh war hero, arm wrestling champion, and a real inspiration, Stepanyan spoke openly to the scouts about his journey through sports and later as a soldier in the Armenian Army in Artsakh.

As a child, he loved sports and was always active. He took all types of martial arts classes: Karate, Ju Jitsu, and Tai Kwon Do, in addition to weightlifting classes. In 2007, he began his service in the army. He was deployed to Artsakh, where he worked within a specialized unit.

In 2014, Major Sargis was on duty during one of Azerbaijan’s violations of the ceasefire along the Artsakh border, he jumped into action to save a wounded soldier’s life. In the process, a mine exploded, causing him heavy injuries and the loss of both his legs and an arm. He was immediately rushed to hospital. How he survived after such an explosion is a puzzle to many—when asked, he says “Park Asdudzo” (“With the help of God.)”

The Homenetmen scouts with Major Stepanyan (Photo: Homenetmen N.J.)

Following the healing of his injuries and the amputation of his legs and arm, Major Stepanyan decided to engage in various sports to aid not only his mental recovery but his physical recovery as well. He used sports to reacclimate himself to daily life. During his rehabilitation, he found that he was good at arm wrestling and began training to compete on an international level. With the financial support of the Armenian Wounded Heroes Fund, Major Stepanyan trained intensively. In 2017, he reached his goal and won two gold and one silver medals at the World Arm Wrestling Championship.

Major Stepanyan arm wrestled with the Homenetmen Scouts (Photo: Homenetmen N.J.)

Major Stepanyan continues to work towards Armenia’s progress in his professional military capacity. Every day he puts on his army uniform and goes to work at the Ministry of Defense. As a member of the Armenian Wounded Heroes Fund, he regularly and tirelessly meets with other wounded soldiers. In doing so, he provides much needed encouragement and inspiration to these soldiers and their families.

Major Stepanyan, with his calm, modest demeanor, and his friendly personality, is an inspiration to all. In defense of his country and fellow soldiers, he endured heavy injuries, but his love and commitment to Armenia and Artsakh have not waivered—he valiantly continues to serve Armenia and Armenians.

Major Stepanyan arm wrestled with the Homenetmen Scouts (Photo: Homenetmen N.J.)

As an honorable soldier and human being, Major Stepanyan teaches us tenacity, diligence, dedication, and faith. No matter how many times we fall, we must get back up and continue to live and fight for our beliefs. No matter the magnitude of the challenges we face, we should continue to find ways to conquer our fears and to persevere both as individuals and within the Armenian Cause.

Support the Armenian Wounded Heroes fund to help all Armenian soldiers like Major Stepanyan. Learn more at: https://armenianwoundedheroes.com/


Tamar Samuelian

Tamar Samuelian is a teacher at the United Nations International School in New York. She has studied Early Childhood Education, and English while minoring in Holocaust and Genocide studies at the College of New Jersey. Born and raised in New Jersey, she is very active in the Armenian community; working within the Homenetmen, the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF), and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF).

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