Two donors who both led modest lives will leave an extraordinary impact on the lives of countless residents in Armenia through their generous bequests.
Vahakn Aglamishian of Farmington Hills, Michigan, was the type of a man whose heart was full of love and generosity for the people of Armenia. That was proven tenfold when, upon his passing, Aglamishian bequeathed over $950,000 to the Armenian EyeCare Project to be used to help children and adults in Armenia who are in need of eye care.
He felt giving to people in need was most important. His heart belonged to the children and people of Armenia, and he dedicated his life to this cause. Aglamishian was compelled to help the people of Armenia because of his family’s own tragic experience during the Genocide. Vahakn Aglamishian carried deep in his soul the memories of his vast family who perished in the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
Aglamishian’s father Nurhan, aunt Eliz, and uncle Khachig are the only known family members who survived the Genocide. The Aglamishians had been a very large and affluent family who lived in Tripoli (Pontus region) west of Trabizond. They were wholesale exporters of nuts to European destinations.
Uncle Khachig was separated during the Genocide and found his way to Brazil. Vahakn’s aunt Eliz and father Nurhan were taken to the orphanage in Strunga, Romania. Eliz married Melchisedec (Melik) Agopian. They had two wonderful daughters: Hermina and Sirvart. Nurhan was adopted by the Tufenkdjian family in Bucharest, Romania where he ultimately met his wife Lusig. They had two wonderful sons: Sarkis and Vahakn. Later they emigrated to the U.S.
Born in 1946, Vahakn Aglamishian was in his late teens when he arrived in the U.S. He studied in Michigan and worked as an engineer in the automotive industry. Still, he continued to keep his devotion to his Armenian heritage close to his heart. He had a respectable library of books on Armenian art, history, and literature. An avid reader, he was always current with the country’s affairs.
Though Vahakn Aglamishian was not able to travel to Armenia, there will be a piece of him that lives on in Armenia forever.
To celebrate Aglamishian’s life and his extraordinary commitment to the country and our organization’s efforts there, the Armenian EyeCare Project has named our fifth Regional Eye Center in his honor. The Vahakn Aglamishian AECP Regional Eye Center, which had a soft opening last fall, is located in the city of Yeghegnadzor in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia and will allow thousands more Armenians who live in this region to have quicker and more efficient access to eye care year-round.
Vahakn was such a modest man living a modest life, but he left a big impact on many people. He was like a hidden pearl — that is how precious he was. All he wanted was to be of help to Armenians, to help the children and adults of Armenia.
With his generous bequest, there is no doubt Aglamishian will be an enormous help to people in need across Armenia.
Minas Minasian was also a simple man with a huge heart. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Minasian always cared deeply about Armenian causes and made contributions to several Armenian organizations in his lifetime. Donating over $600,000 to the Armenian EyeCare Project during his life and bequeathing over $500,000 to our organization upon his passing last year, Minasian has contributed over $1 million to the Armenian EyeCare Project alone to be used for our several sight-saving services in Armenia.
Serving in the armed forces during World War II and working as an accountant upon returning from service, Minasian was a hard worker who lived modestly throughout his entire life. Instead of spending his earnings on lavish material goods, Minasian placed value on things he deemed more important, like family. He looked after his older sister when she became ill and spent quality time with his father and mother as they shared stories of their lives “back home” in Kharpert (historic Armenia.)
In fact, when making his generous donations, Minasian would always insist: “This is not from me, but from my father, my mother and my sister.” He was simple yet profound, knowing that the true value of life came from helping others. “I have everything I need: shelter, food and a warm bed,” Minasian once said. “Now I want to help my nation, the people of Armenia.”
There is no doubt that with the over $1 million Minasian has donated to the Armenian EyeCare Project, he will have a powerful impact on the people of Armenia, as he wished to have.
The Armenian EyeCare Project is financed entirely through donations. So when a contribution is made to our organization, in any amount, it means we are able to continue our sight-saving programs and services in Armenia. The incredible generosity in the form of posthumous bequests from both Aglamishian and Minasian will have a life-long impact on eye care in Armenia that will last for generations to come.