Tekeyan Aid Distribution to Artsakh War Victims Continues; Part III: Making the Ultimate Sacrifice for Country
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 Aleksandr Avetisyan, a member of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of Armenia and member of the central committee of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party of Armenia, visited four families to distribute aid.
In the province of Gegharkunik of the Republic of Armenia, we went to the village of Pokr Marsrik to the family of Vrezh Sargsyan, who joined the army from Vardenis, and served in the rank and file as a contract soldier. Sargsyan was born in 1989. His father, Vardan, proudly recalled that when his third son was born we organized a great celebration in the house. He said, “I was proud. I have three defenders of the homeland. The boys grew up. I sent them, each in his turn, to the national army.”
Vrezh Sargsyan was conscripted in 2013. His father related that when his period of service was completed, he telephoned home and said, “Dad, I decided to continue my service, and I want to register for contract service.” His mother, Sveta, began to cry, saying, “Your older brother also had enrolled as a contract soldier. At least you come home.” But Vrezh persuaded his parents, saying “What will we live on if I come. There is no work, nor the money to go to Russia.”
Vrezh was killed on April 4 by intensive gunfire during sudden battle with enemy reconnaissance groups which had entered the village of Talish. His detachment was caught in close fighting, and showed great courage. It stopped the penetration of the enemy inside the Armenian defense lines. Vrezh’s dead body was brought down from the military positions by his brother Seyran.
Their father Vardan said, “What to do — we have bad neighbors with whom we are forced to live. Let there not be war. Let there not be victims. But we have reconciled ourselves with our loss.”
We then visited the family of Koryun Harutyunyan, born in 1996 and conscripted into the army from the town of Vardenis of Gegharkunik province. This family lives in the village of Geghamasar in a very humble home. Koryun had an older brother and one married sister. When we visited, the only person home was Koryun’s mother, Arevhat. She said that her husband Kamo was not home because he went with their son to the village cemetery. They were putting up the stone for Koryun’s grave.
After the loss of her son, Arevhat fell into a deep depression. She fell sick with stress and was always crying. Koryun died on April 1. According to preliminary information, he was mortally wounded by fire from a type of weapon called “Instigyal” used by the enemy.
The third family visited and given aid was that of Harutyun Abrahamyan. Born in 1985, he joined the army in 2013 through contract service from Areguni village, of the town of Vardenis, in Gegharkunik. He was the only child of the family. His father Hovhannes and his mother Varsik would not speak. Arpine, Harutyun’s wife, spoke about her husband. They had married in 2007. When their first child, Mkhitar, was born, they were very happy. Her father-in-law worked and earned money, but it was not sufficient. Harutyun often spoke about entering military service, but his mother and father always opposed it. Harutyun said, “There is no work in the village. The boys in the village all go to Russia for work abroad and earn good money. Either allow me to go to Russia or to serve in the army.” His parents agreed that their son should enter the army on contract. Harutyun came home this year for the last time on vacation on January 8. Arpine and Harutyun have three young children: one 8-year-old boy, and two girls, 6 and 4. Arpine showed the newly constructed kitchen, and said that they built it with assistance. It was convenient, she said.
Harutyun Abrahamyan died on April 3 in Talish village. His detachment was called to help the front line. They were in close combat with a saboteur reconnaissance group when he received mortal wound from a sniper.
The final family visited this time was that of Gevorg Mghdesyan, born in 1983 and conscripted as a private into the national army from Nor Hachin in the district of Nayiri. He served at the frontline in Mardakert in the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh. Gevorg lived with his parents and brother. His brother Armen served in Karabagh too. When I visited their home only the mother, Anzhela, was there, When I appeared and explained my mission, she cried a lot. Her neighbor next door came to calm her down.
Anzhela said that 100 days were left till the end of her son’s military service. Gevorg had started to keep track, noting when each day passed in his notebook. He wanted to return. In August 2015, he was wounded by a fragment and they sent him home for maternal care. He remained there 12 days to recover and then returned to his post. Before starting military service, Gevorg studied for one year at the state architectural university in the radio communications correspondence division. He was very intelligent. He wanted to continue his studies at the university after returning from the army. He died on April 7 from the enemy’s sniper fire.
The four soldiers described in this article each received medals of courage from 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)