By Gayane Muradyan
YEREVAN — Aid from the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the US and Canada continues to be distributed to the families of soldiers who lost their lives heroically in the four-day April war earlier this year. This time, I and Nelli Gyulzatyan, a member of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of Armenia and candidate of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party for the city council of Vanadzor in the forthcoming elections, visited four families in Lori Province to distribute aid.
First we went to the family of Karen Davtyan, who was born in 1981 and joined the army on contract from the city of Vanadzor. Davtyan’s father, Pargev, had rushed to Artsakh as a volunteer in 1990, during the early days of the struggle to liberate Artsakh. He fought and then returned from the front. When Karen told the members of his family that he wished to continue his military service on contract, his mother and wife opposed this. They begged him to remain with his family and not go, but he remained implacable in his decision. Davtyan was his detachment’s machine gunner. He had sharp eyes and steady hands.
While carrying out a military task during his usual watch, he was killed in an avalanche of snow. He fell into a valley, where he died from lack of oxygen. A two-room residence was put at the disposal of his wife and two children after his death. The repair and renovation of that residence still continues. We presented our aid at this residence.
The next family we visited was again in Vanadzor, and belonged to the rank and file soldier Hayk Minasyan, born there in 1996. He lived in a two-room residence, which was in extremely bad shape, together with his parents and three sisters. He was the only male child of the household. He was a senior radio telephone operator. Consequently, he would be the first to find out about important communications and quickly carried out all commands. His father Samvel related that the day of his death he had spoken with his son. He was calm but taciturn. Understanding the family’s difficult economic circumstances, he generally asked very little of his parents. Once in a while he would ask for a battery, or shaving and other hygenic items. He was by nature happy and jocular, and was very attached to his sisters. A classroom in the city of Vanadzor has been named in honor of Hayk. He was posthumously given the medals of courage of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh and the Republic of Armenia.
The third family was that of Spartak Kalashyan, a rank and file soldier born in 1997 in Vanadzor. He, his parents and younger sibling, like the others, lived in a two-room residence. His father Sargis said that 25 years ago he himself participated in the Artsakh war. Spartak’s mother’s brother, also named Spartak, died in 1992 at the age of 19 in Martakert, as did Spartak himself.
Sargis proudly said that his heroic son was brought up in a patriotic environment. He knew what war was even at a young age, since his father went to war. He never asked his mother when his father would come home. He knew that he must wait in silence. Spartak Kalashyan told his father to come to the military positions because he had much to teach them. His father Sargis said that this generation is stronger than ours.
The Kalashyan family has decided to have another male child to bear the name Spartak.
The fourth family lives in the village of Katnajur, which is forty kilometers from the city of Spitak in Lori Province. It is the family of Artyom Varderesyan, born in 1996, which lived on land next to the mayoralty. During the destructive earthquake of 1988, this village was next to the epicenter which was at Nalband, but it was greatly damaged because it was built of strong stone.
Artyom’s grandfather was a fedayi or fighter for General Antranik, while his father Arsen participated in the Artsakh war of liberation. Thus, they brought up a brave and strong boy. He studied well in school and was smart. He could figure out any sort of machine. His father said that he was not at all afraid to go into the army.
His parents showed several certificates of merit for best military service in his platoon. His father said that he had gone to see Artyom in his military post only one day prior to his death. Artyom died from the bullet of a sharpshooter taking advantage of the change of posts at night.
The mother of the Varderesyans saw a dream in which Artyom was coming home and exclaimed, I have returned. The family has decided to have another male child. Artyom posthumously was granted medals from both the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh.
Reports will continue to be published in the Mirror on the progress of Tekeyan’s aid distribution. Those who wish to contribute to this aid campaign may make their donations out to the Tekeyan Cultural Association, Inc. (Memo: Artsakh Fund), and send them to 755 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472. For more information, contact 617 924-4455 or email [email protected].
(Gayane Muradyan is a Tekeyan Cultural Association Representative. Translated and edited from the Armenian)