By Aram Arkun
WATERTOWN — Ararat Lodge Number 1 of the Knights of Vartan acknowledged leaders in the Armenian community and in its own organizations through its 2015 awards dinner at the Oakley Country Club on November 6, at which more than 130 guests were present.
Ara Balikian welcomed guests as the master of ceremonies, and later gave the closing talk of the evening. Fr. Arakel Aljalian, pastor of St. James Armenian Church, blessed the gathering. Lodge Commander Armen Bogossian made introductory remarks about the various individuals being honored throughout the evening and the significance of the awards that they would receive. A number of last year’s award recipients served as presenters to the new honorees. The basic biographies of the awardees have already been summarized in a Mirror article of December 27, 2014.
The formal ceremonies began when Krikor Gennetian, honored as Ghevont Yeretz Faithful Knight in 2014, presented the 2015 award to George W. Haroutunian. Gennetian noted that Haroutunian was not only a great leader, but also was a person of great character highly respected by all Ararat Lodge members because of his helpfulness to others. Haroutunian served in US elite airborne forces in the Korean War and in the 10th Special Forces, and later worked 24 years with the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts in various positions in law enforcement.
While receiving his award, Haroutunian declared he joined the Knights in 1975, having already been a member of a Masonic order. He said, “Not to diminish the Masons, but I was finding a new home that had my culture and my people, and I wanted to help my people.” He joined Hayk Lodge, which lasted about 31 years and then was subsumed in Ararat Lodge in 1966.