WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford Massachusetts (AAVO) has added to their legacy of charitable giving with a generous $10,000 donation to the ANCA Capital Gateway Program – a pioneering initiative to open the door for recent Armenian American college graduates to political, government, media, and foreign policy jobs in the nation’s capital.
“The AAVO have long represented the proudest tradition of the Armenian American community,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “The children of Genocide survivors who themselves went to war to protect our freedoms, today continue to give back, opening doors for a new generation of Armenian Americans dedicated to public service.”
Launched in August, 2003, through a generous donation from the Cafesjian Family Foundation, the ANCA Capital Gateway Program assists Armenian Americans across the U.S. to find job opportunities on Capitol Hill or other government offices, the media, and think tanks in Washington, D.C. The program builds on the successful 20-year old ANCA “Leo Sarkisian” summer internship program, which has brought hundreds of youth leaders to Washington, D.C. to learn about the American political process and the growing role Armenian Americans play in advancing issues of concern to our community.
Qualified Capital Gateway Program Fellows are provided free housing and full use of ANCA facilities and staff support in their quest for the right job or internship in the Nation’s Capital. The over 20 participants in the program have secured positions in a myriad locations including with Members of Congress, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Export-Import Bank, Congressional Quarterly, Center for the Prevention of Genocide and the American Civil Liberties Union.
AAVO was founded in 1946 in Milford, MA by returning veterans of World War II. Over the years, it has counted over three hundred members, including veterans of both the Second World War and the Korean War, who have called Milford home. During the 1950’s the group completed work on an attractive building and grounds, a Veteran’s and community center, which was a vibrant home to area Armenian American veterans for many years. With the passing of so many veterans in the decades following the War, the group sold the building in 1989, and has used the proceeds from this sale to contribute to a number of worthwhile causes. The AAVO have been recognized for their generosity in newspapers, official proclamations, and through the appreciation of the many recipients of their humanitarian gifts. Among those that the Veterans have assisted over the years include:
* The Armenian Library and Museum of America, the national repository for collecting, conserving and documenting Armenian artifacts, books, textiles, archives and works of art;
* Project Save, the pioneering program that collects and archives visual information about Armenian people and their history;
* The Milford Senior Center, the town’s gathering place for members of the “Greatest Generation.”
* Milford Whitinsville Regional Hospital, allowing this community hospital to expand its facilities and services.
* St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, which provides free of charge medical care to the most vulnerable children, suffering from cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
* Armenian Children’s Milk Fund, a life-saving charity that has been sending soy-based infant formula and dry powdered milk to Armenia since 1989.
In addition, the Veterans have contributed to the Armenian Tree Project, Armenian Eye Care Project, Armenian General Benevolent Union, several Armenian churches, and individual families in need. The Veterans group is also working closely with local attorney Gregory Arabian, an Armenian American community leader, who is preparing oral histories of the lives of Armenian American World War II and Korean War veterans.
1) AAVO-group.jpg: Armenian American Veterans of Milford, Massachusetts, Tuesday, December 14, 2004, at the Milford, MA Senior Citizens Center. Standing: Harry Shahnamian (Korean Era), Joe Derderian (USN), John Mooradian (US Army Korea), Roger Papelian (WWII USN) Seated: Hagop “Champ” Karakehian (WWII USN), Charles Garabed Kalunian (WWII USN), Leo Papelian (WWII USArmy)
2) Armenian Genocide Monument in Milford, MA, spearheaded by the Armenian American Veterans Organization, dedicated on April 24, 1999.