Vatche Rides Again

To get information on how you can help make the upcoming Bike-a-Thon III a success for Armenia, Click here

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by Peter Ara Guekguezian

At the request of Armenia’s Ministry of Agriculture, ATG has spearheaded efforts to establish a Central Diagnostic Laboratory (CDL) to address food safety and animal-borne diseases in both Armenia and its neighbors in the South Caucasus. As part of this CDL Project, ATG planned to purchase and install four large milk-cooling containers in northern Armenia, one in each of four villages. These tanks would each hold up to one thousand (1,000) gallons of milk, and would give over three thousand (3,000) families access to proper nutrition. These families have had no safe way to store their fresh milk; without proper storage, the milk quickly spoiled, and could not be kept in sufficient quantities to meet their needs. The cooling tanks were thus imperative to improving public health in rural areas. Furthermore, they would serve as field stations to provide needed data to the CDL. Certified veterinarians would be placed at each location to monitor and maintain the purity of the milk. They would also diagnose and treat animals with infectious diseases.

However, ATG still had to raise enough money to purchase the collection tanks, while simultaneously spreading awareness of this badly needed project. Once again, Vatche Soghomonian answered the call. He and Varoujan organized a second ride through Armenia (the “Bike-a-Thon II”) as a fundraiser for the milk tanks. This time, Vatche would start off in Yerevan, go around Lake Sevan, ride through the rugged terrain of northern Armenia, bike down into the Araks valley, and then finish his trek going back to Yerevan. They counted on getting the same support as they did for Bike-a-Thon I, from Armenians in both the Motherland and the Diaspora, to help them accomplish their mission once again.

The second Bike-a-Thon was even more successful than the first! On his way through the ancient hills and rocks of northern Armenia, Vatche was met with strong support from the local population. A life-long member of the Homenetmen, he was greeted by dozens of fellow members in Vanadzor, Yerevan, and elsewhere. Vatche also visited many sites of historical and cultural importance, including the burial place of Mesrob Mashdots, the creator of the unique Armenian alphabet.

But the greatest support for the Bike-a-Thon II has come from Vatche’s many sponsors, whose generous donations have poured in to purchase the four milk-cooling containers. The fundraising goal of $60,000 is has quickly been met; we thank those who made a donation that will nourish the bodies and souls of Armenia’s people for years to come. And, be sure to watch for Vatche as the Bike-a-Thon III approaches!

To learn more about the Central Diagnostic Lab (CDL), Click Here.

To learn more about the Milk Tanks Project, Click Here.

To see the locations of the milk tanks, Click Here.

If you wish to participate in any part of the upcoming Bike-a-Thon III, please e-mail us at
Or, go to the Bike-a-Thon III information page.

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For more information about how you can help Armenia’s rural families, contact the ATG office at (559) 224-1000 or by e-mail ( Tax-deductible donations can be sent to ATG; 1300 E. Shaw, Suite 149; P.O.Box 5969; Fresno, CA 93755-5969.
You may also donate to ATG online.