WATERTOWN – The #PeaceForArmenians cleats that broke NFL records have made the news again as the winning bidders on January 6, 2021 were revealed to be Michele Kolligian and Bob Khederian of Boston. Kolligian and Khederian were on a mission to acquire these cleats, not for themselves, but to support the Armenia Fund and to bring awareness that another genocide is taking place in Artsakh. POW’s remain imprisoned by Azerbaijan and innocent Armenian civilians are being tortured and killed and displaced from their homeland, and these atrocities have not been widely reported in the news.
Kolligian, President of the Board of Trustees of the Armenian Museum of America, and Khederian, Vice President, are donating the cleats to the Museum. The dynamic duo have devoted their time and effort to keep the Museum in the forefront of the Armenian and non-Armenian communities. Proud and committed to the Armenian Museum’s mission, this recent gesture speaks to their generosity and passion for their Armenian heritage and the legacy left behind by the Museum’s founders 50 years ago.
While the auction was going on, they knew they were up against another determined bidder. At one point they were about to put a pause on their bidding but with less than three minutes left to go they entered one final bid of $40,300, which sealed the deal! “It felt like we had just won the Armenian Super Bowl,” said Kolligian and Khederian.
“It was an exciting campaign and a record for the NFL’s charitable campaign. We give credit and our sincere thanks to Berj Najarian and the Patriots Family for making this campaign a success in raising awareness about Artsakh,” said Kolligian. “In the end what made us most proud was to support the ongoing humanitarian efforts in Armenia and Artsakh and to be able to give the cleats a permanent and prominent place in the collection of the Armenian Museum. The icing on the cake is that the cleats will remain in New England, home to the Patriots! The cleats will be featured in a Family Case in the Museum and we will be using them in a creative way to raise additional funds for the children of Artsakh whose lives have been drastically impacted by this war.”
The Armenian-themed cleats were created by Armenian-American Berj Najarian, who is the Director of Football/Head Coach Administration for the New England Patriots. The NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign was initiated in 2016 as a way for players to use their voices and their influence to build support for social causes.
“The entire experience went above and beyond my expectations and was incredible and humbling to be a part of this. I was just the middleman for the extreme generosity and was thrilled to learn that Michele and Bob were the winners,” Najarian recalled.