ROYAL OAK, Mich.-On Sun., June 2, on a cool, windy, and partly sunny day, the lovely downtown area of Royal Oak was the scene of the Armenian Relief Society’s (ARS) annual walkathon fundraiser dubbed “Walk Armenia,” organized by Detroit’s five ARS sister chapters: Maro, Sybille, Zabel, Shakeh, and Tzolig.
More than 100 walkers of all ages – including toddlers in strollers, children, youth, and adults – wearing green “Walk Armenia” t-shirts marched proudly and sang patriotic songs. Children holding Armenian tricolor flags and youth holding a blue-and-white banner proclaimed their solidarity with the ARS and its mission.
The 2.5-mile route passed through quiet tree-lined residential neighborhoods and busy downtown streets where afternoon diners enjoyed an al fresco meal. Many onlookers asked about the organization and why we were walking.
“What an amazing walkathon, and the turnout was great,” said Shakeh Basmajian, and ARS, Inc. member. “The ARS greatly appreciates and thanks all the walkers and sponsors of Walk Armenia. We hope to see them next year,” she added.
Proceeds of Walk Armenia will be distributed to AYF Camp Haiastan, the American Red Cross fund for victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes, and the ARS Eastern Region Armenia Fund.
By May Kafafian