Anush Avejic: Recipient of the 2011 Woman of the Year Award
This is the text of the announcement I made at the Annual Woman of the Year Award ceremony at the St. Peter Armenian Church & Youth Ministries’ Center, Glendale, California
May 14, 2011
This is a very special award. It is given in recognition of a woman who exemplifies the vision and goals of the Armenian Church. I don’t like calling it an award because it can easily be given to many of you who dedicate yourselves to the Church. Although it’s by election that the recipient is determined, it is not awarded in a competitive spirit. That is, no one works for this award. In our church, we do it all for God and not for the sake of recognition. That’s what’s so special about this acknowledgment. You – the members of the Maidens Group – are recognizing a peer. You are acknowledging one of your own: one who is dedicated to the church, the Christian message of faith, hope and love and is selfless in her dedication.
By way of procedures – each St. Peter Maiden has one vote. The ballots are tallied in private by me. No one knows the outcome until today.
Last year, Anoush Dekmejian was the first recipient of Woman of the Year. She has dedicated her life to the Armenian Church for many years through work in different parishes and positions. We are very fortunate to have someone like her who selflessly works to better our church. She has been with us since the first day we opened our parish eight years ago.
Our recipient this year is also someone who has been with us since our first day of operations. She is, in fact, one of the godmothers of our church, responsible for one of the pillars that holds up the work of our church. She is a native of Los Angeles, being born to Diramayr Anna and the late Dr. Varougan Movsesian. She is my sister, Anush Avejic.
Anush grew up here in the Southern California area, attending local schools. She’s a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, where her daughter Ani will be graduating as well, next month. Anush has two beautiful children Nareg and Ani. Along with her husband Ned, she lives in Sunland.
To say Anush is involved in our church’s work is a major understatement. On one of the ballots we received, there was a list of “reasons” for Anush’s nomination. It said, and I quote, “In His Shoes Mission, Annual Cancer Walk, World Vision Orphan Program, Monthly Homeless Run, Piggy Bank Fund Raiser, Choir member, Translator, Church member, Parish Council Member, Outreach Program coordinator, Flyers, Food and ALWAYS ready to help!” Now that’s involvement.
Anush is an accomplished musician. Her singing in our choir is only a small outward expression of what we in the family have enjoyed for many years. Whether on flute, piano or guitar, she’s played the rhythms of life for us. Anush is a teacher. She taught at the Hovsepian School in Pasadena, instructing new generations to live out their dreams. She was one of the best loved teachers at that school. But even more, she continues to teach with her example of humility and constant dedication to the plight of the suffering.
Anush has been brought up in the Church with a deep and unpretentious faith in Christ. Her life is driven by a very basic philosophy, to help people who can’t help themselves. She’s there for the lonely, the shattered, the poor and hungry. She has a genuine compassion for humanity. It comes through in her faith, her prayers, her work and in the exemplary outreach.
On a personal level, some of our best memories from childhood come from walking to school together. The road to school was filled with many crazy things, places, adventures and stories. In a sense, we’ve walked that road together ever since, talking, sharing and learning. In a very real sense, she walks with us all and inspires us to seek the path of compassion.
In her latest bout with cancer she is teaching us a lesson in faith and strength. She’s taking on this evil with the greatest of weapons: God on her side and Love in her heart. From her bed, she makes arrangements for the next homeless feed, she takes care of orphans in Africa and Armenia, and organizes her walk, next September, for a Breast Cancer cure.
Anush has a line of jewelry at called Pomegranate and Eye. Please do check it out. The name is very descriptive of who Anush is to us. She is our pomegranate – filled with unending life. She’s our eye that wards off all evil with her powerful love.
It is my pleasure to announce the 2011 St. Peter Armenian Church & Youth Ministries’ Center Woman of the Year, Anush Avejic.