Philanthropist Flora Dunaians to Ride in First Armenian-American Float in Rose Parade



PASADENA, Calif. — The Los Angeles Affiliate of the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) announce that Flora Dunaians, one of its founding members, will ride on the first American Armenian float in the 126th Rose Parade. On January 1, 2015, the float entered by the American Armenian Rose Float Association (AARFA) will be one of 45 floats showcasing “Inspiring Stories” and to share the stories from the American Armenian community that has contributed much to this world. This acclaimed effort belongs to every Armenian in the United States and around the world.

This achievement was the result of the efforts of the Board Members of The American Armenian Rose Float Association. They organized a celebratory “Gala Under the Stars” event, co-chaired by Dunaians and Margaret Mgrublian, AIWA-LA Board Member, on Sunday, October 19, at the Rose Bowl, Court of Champions, to present the plans and preparations for this historical event. AARFA presented the float “Cradle of Civilization” at the gala. Honorees at the event were Pamela Knapp, the great-granddaughter of Movses Pashgian who was the Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1915. Also honored that evening were the 1952 Stanford Rose Bowl team players, Chuck Essegian, Harry Hugasian, Norm Manoogian, Len Kaprielian and Gary Kerkorian; as well as the 2006 Tournament of Roses Princess, Rachel Geragos. Jerry Tarkanian, one of the most successful basketball coaches, who has also been chosen as one of the riders on the float, was in attendance at the gala with his son, Danny Tarkanian.

Silva Katchiguian, president of AIWA-LA stated, “There could be no better choice than Flora Dunaians to participate in the first American-Armenian Rose Float. Throughout her years of leadership in the Armenian church and community, as well as her distinguished service in the American community, she has earned our(AIE respect and admiration for her dedication in helping others and preserving our history and values.”

Dunaians is a native of Pasadena, attending John Muir High School and John Muir Junior College and continuing her education at California State University of Los Angeles, graduating with a BA in education. She and her husband George began Western Medical Supply, a veterinary drug distributorship, which has been in business for over 47 years. Her office served as the center for all humanitarian efforts, utilizing their shipping department, sorting out donated items, as well as supplies and medical supplies for Armenia following the devastating earthquake in 1988. The Developmental Services of Armenia was co-founded by the couple to help children and to this day continues to concentrate on children in need, focusing on schools, computer labs and the renovation of gyms.

Flora Dunaians’ philanthropic work generated many memorable occasions, including co-chairing the largest banquet in the Armenian community in 1987 for Vasken l, Catholicos of All Armenians. She was honored to serve on the official committee to welcome Pope John Paul II to Armenia, celebrating the 1700 Anniversary of Christianity in Armenia.

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Flora Dunaians is the recipient of the “Women of Achievement Award” at the AIWA London Conference in 1994 in recognition of her leadership and humanitarian efforts. Congressman Adam Schiff selected her as “Woman of the Year” in 2005 and in 2007 Assemblyman Anthony Portantino named her as one of the outstanding women in business. Flora was inducted into the John Muir High School Hall of Fame in 2008 and in 2012 she received the Distinguished Humanitarian Award by the Armenian Assembly of America.

Other community activities include serving as board member of the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian Film Foundation, west coast AIWA, Armenian International Women’s Association and the Armenian Professional Society, hosting the annual APS Tennis Tournament for 25 years, raising funds for student scholarships; member of St. Gregory Armenian Church, Pasadena, Ladies Auxiliary of the Western Diocese, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Huntington Library and Gardens, San Marino and the Pasadena Museum of History.

Other riders on the float include former California Governor George Deukmejian and Gloria Deukmejian, Attorney Mark Geragos, Actress Angela Sarafyan, Gabriel Injejikian, founder of the first Armenian day school in the United States, and Judge Samuel der-Yeghiayan, US Federal Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.


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