5th Annual Knights of Vartan Ararat Lodge Surf, Turf and Cigar Fundraiser Again Breaks All Records


Organizers of the Knights fundraiser (Photo: Viken Karaguasian) 2. Former NFL linebacker Steve DeOssie with comedian Lenny Clarke (Photo: Viken Karaguasian)

Organizers of the Knights fundraiser (Photo: Viken Karaguasian)

 

By Aram Arkun

Mirror-Spectator Staff

WATERTOWN — The Ararat Lodge of the Knights of Vartan held their fifth annual charity fundraiser dinner on September 15 at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center. Once again this year’s attendance and funds raised for charity broke previous records, with 328 guests in attendance. Guests enjoyed steak, lobster, drinks and cigars with Armenian camaraderie while supporting worthy local Armenian institutions. Noted comedian Lenny Clarke, for a second year in a row, served as auctioneer and provided a mini version of his nightclub act.

Clarke in a brief interview before the start of the evening, declared, “I have never had a bad experience with an Armenian. They are just wonderful people, a great close-knit community.” He praised the organizers, and said, “What they do with this event is wonderful. They are raising so much money for the school… It is an amazing event. You can smoke cigars, which is great, and you have a delicious dinner. It makes for a nice night.”

He added, “One thing that I find is that the Armenians get me, which is great. That is so encouraging. … I find the Armenians want to laugh and they are very open, so if you are funny they enjoy you.” Clarke announced the event on the radio, and no doubt this attracted new guests.

Fr. Antranig Baljian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Armenian Church of Watertown, thanked the Knights of Vartan for sponsoring the dinner and the guests that evening for supporting the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown. He blessed the dinner and expressed his particular appreciation for the cigar portion of the evening.

Ararat Lodge Commander Peter Yapoudjian congratulated Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian on his primary victory. He noted that Koutoujian was running uncontested in the November general election.

Argishti Chaparian, chairman of the event, spoke about the importance of the funds raised through the event. He said that as the goal of the Knights of Vartan is to preserve Armenian culture and help its communities survive, “a significant portion of the funds raised tonight will be donated to the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School for their future operational costs.”

Chaparian thanked the members of the organizing committee, which included Jirair Balian, Levon Belekian, Richard Berberian, Armen Bogossian, Mike Cimen, Jirair Demirchian, Toros Doumanian, Jirair Iskenderian, Ervant Kibarian, Nathan Kibarian, Jack Kouymoujian, Armen Mahseredjian, Eric Markarian, Vartan Soukiasian, Nelson Stepanian, Peter Yapoujian, and Alex Yildizyan.

Herb Chambers Flagship Mercedes of Lynnfield sponsored the event for the second year in a row. Sidekim Foods of Lynn catered the event and Cal’s News Store provided all the sports memorabilia, silent auction items, and cigars.

In addition to the live and silent auctions of sports memorabilia and other items, hostesses sold raffle tickets. A special surprise was that former NFL linebacker and long snapper Steve DeOssie, who played for the Patriots and Giants, was among the attendees.

Among the institutions supported from the revenue obtained at previous fundraisers are, in yearly order starting from the first year, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School’s Nursery Expansion, the Armenian Sister’s Academy (Lexington) Computer Lab, local Armenian language schools, and local Armenian church Sunday School programs.