Knights of Vartan Ararat Lodge Sends 11th Shipment to Armenia


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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Cambridge-based Ararat Lodge of the Knights of Vartan (K of V) successfully sent off of its 11th forty-foot container of aid to needy hospitals, medical clinics and schools destined for Armenia’s villages on the international border with Azerbaijan in the Tavush region. The shipment, valued at $204,000, is expected to arrive in Armenia by early April.

This container consists primarily of equipment and supplies from a training school for technicians that went out of business. Thanks to the generosity of the Atinizian family, the entire inventory of equipment and supplies of this training school was donated to the K of V for delivery to Armenia.

Major items include over 60 slightly used computers and computer accessories, a dental suite complete with dental chair and dental x-ray, dental cabinets, dental supplies/tools; equipment and supplies for a dental prosthetics laboratory; hospital beds and patient exam table; and other medical supplies, devices and equipment.

Also included are two blood-saver machines for the Arabkir Joint Medical Center Hospital in Yerevan for use by the hospital’s well-known pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Garen Koloyan and his colleagues in the operating room to recover blood lost by patients during surgery and to recycle it back to them. These blood-saver machines along with medical supplies were donated by the Massachusetts General Hospital through the efforts of Dr. Nishan Goudsouzian and Dr. Hovig Chitilian.

A dedicated team of K of V volunteers has been working on this project for the past six months, first of all removing the equipment and supplies from an office location to a warehouse of a devoted member of the Knights of Vartan, Aurelian Mardiros. Next step was sorting, recording, palletizing and packing at the warehouse. The team of volunteers is headed by Jack Medzorian, program director of the Knights’ Ararat Lodge Armenia Medical Aid Program, assisted by Ararat Lodge members Sarkis Gennetian, Aurelian Mardiros and Dr. Nishan Goudsouzian, a long-time major donor of medical equipment/supplies for Armenia. Other team members include Vartan Mardiros, Gary Mardiros, Krikor Shaboyan, Haig Deranian, Paul Boghosian, Edward Shooshanian, Charles Guleserian, Nigoghos Atinizian, Greg Yergatian, George Boole and Judy Khachadourian. Testing of the computers was donated by Alfred Demirjian, proprietor of the firm Techfusion, Inc., a leader in computer data recovery. Launching of the container from the Beverley, MA warehouse was followed by a customary prayer led by Sarkis Gennetian blessing the container and wishing a safe voyage and arrival at destination to serve the needs of brothers, sisters and their families in Armenia.

Medzorian commented, “At the outset of this project, we invited the Fund for Armenia Relief (FAR) to be our partner in Armenia to facilitate the needs assessment and coordinate the distribution of the container contents, thereby utilizing FAR’s expertise and facilities in their Yerevan headquarters and regional field office in the Northeastern border town of Berd, where most of the aid will be sent. California- based United Armenia Fund (UAF) provided expert logistics and financial aid for the container shipping costs as they have done for some of the prior K of V shipments. Except for four pallets consigned to Yerevan, the remaining 13 pallets in the container will be delivered to the town of Berd, the center of the 16 villages of the Shamshadeen region of the Tavush Marz bordering Azerbaijan, 4 to 5 hours Northeast of Yerevan on the road to nowhere (it was a popular route to Tbilisi, Georgia, from Armenia through Azerbaijan during Soviet times). As the Armenia-Azerbaijan international border has been closed since independence and the ensuing Karabagh war, few tourists/visitors travel there now in spite of the fact that it is a beautiful area with lush forests, mountains and valleys creating a striking, breath-taking scene that is in sharp contrast with other regions of Armenia. The 16,000 inhabitants of Shamshadeen are thus not only isolated and underserved, but their lives are also threatened on a regular basis by hostile Azeri snipers who target innocent civilians without provocation, killing some and wounding others for the past 20 years of cease fire. We chose to aid this region as it is indeed endangered, is strategically important for Armenia’s security and defense, and its inhabitants need help.”

Medzorian added, “FAR’s Berd office performed a needs assessment of schools and municipality offices in Shamshadeen for placement of the computers as well as a survey of medical facilities in the area for their needs. The dental suite and hospital equipment will be sent to the border hospital in village Aygedzor where there is a trained dentist as well as a staff of nurses and medical doctors. The dental prosthetics lab equipment and supplies will be donated to the Military Hospital in Berd to serve not only its own dental clinic for military patients and their families, but also needs of other dental clinics in the area. It will be the only dental prosthetics lab in the entire region. Thirteen medical clinics and medical posts along the border will also receive medical devices and supplies”.

The total value of the Ararat Lodge medical aid projects to date to approximately $3.5 million. This shipment is especially significant as it will be going into a region of Armenia that has been neglected since independence, yet is extremely important for Armenia’s security, as it has the longest international border between Armenia and hostile Azerbaijan.