WYNNEWOOD, Penn. — On Friday, September 28, the Armenian community of Philadelphia came together, at a reception hosted by St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Church, to honor Papken Megerian, one of the 2012 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients, acknowledging their pride in an immigrant whose service to the Armenian community, in the US and abroad, spans several decades.
Parish Council Vice Chair Mark Gulasarian welcomed the 200 guests gathered for the occasion and expressed his appreciation to Megerian for all of his efforts on behalf of the parish. He shared some highlights of Megerian’s devotion to the Armenian community and acknowledged both Papken and his wife, Anahid, reflecting back on their 50 years of marriage as an inspiration to the community and stating, “If Papken could, he would cut the medal in half and give the other half to Anahid.”
Sonia Kailian Placido, Papken Megerian’s niece, shed some light on the personal influence that her uncle has had in her life. She, along with her two sisters and brother, was raised by a single mother. Her three uncles became surrogate fathers to them and “Papken Keri” was omnipresent in their lives as they were growing up. He was always ready, willing and able to give of his time.
Her uncle, she said, “is a man who thrives on helping others. Call it good or bad, but he never says no.”
“It wasn’t until I got older and had my own family that I was really able to appreciate the true generosity of my uncle . . . and that of his wife and children for their willingness to share him. His involvement in numerous organizations and philanthropies still boggles my mind — how does he make time for it all? Passion. Simply put, he is a passionate man — passionate for each and every aspect of his life, whether it be family, church, work, or charity.”
Her biggest thanks were reserved for Papken Megerian’s efforts on behalf of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator. “My husband Jeff, I think,
holds the title for the non-Armenian who reads the Armenian Mirror-Spectator front to back, inside and out, each and every week, throughout the year. In fact, were it not for Jeff pointing out the latest pictures or stories of Papken in the paper, I wouldn’t be aware of half of his accomplishments.”