Mardiros family in key contribution to Armenian heritage park in Boston
Published: Monday May 21, 2012
PEABODY, MA - Each day, inside an imposing machine plant that serves the industrial world, Aurelian and Anahid Mardiros are living the American dream.
In so doing, they are fulfilling the Armenian dream.
Together with their three engineering sons, the family owns and operates a rather lucrative enterprise called A & A Industries which manufactures precision machine components.
For them, it's been a 34-year-old dream that's lived every day after pessimists thought it would be a nightmare.
"When I first started a machine shop, they said it would fail," recalled Mardiros. "I read somewhere that 90 percent of upstart businesses fall apart after the first year. I listened to my mother. She had all the faith in the world."
Joining the parents are sons Gary, 31; Antranig, 30, and Vartan, 25, along with 42 employees housed inside a 120,000-square-foot structure which has slowly evolved in time.
These days, the operation has taken on a new dimension --- one that has genocide recognition written all over it. When the bids were being entertained for a sculpture that would grace the Rose Kennedy Greenway, up when Aurelian's hand with an offer nobody could refuse.
The supreme act of charity came after the couple was approached by the Knights of Vartan in which Aurelian is actively involved.
"I bid a goose egg," he revealed. "We were willing to take on this project for free. It's important to acknowledge what happened nearly 100 years ago. There isn't a price you can put on that."
And that they did. For the past 18 months, apart from the normal business, the Mardiros family turned this into a labor of love --- a passion that exceeded all expectations. Step by step, the monument began taking shape as architect Donald Tellalian and others looked on with high expectation.
The abstract sculpture, known as a split dodecahedron monument, stands 15 feet high, weighs 9,000 pounds, and is made of aluminum and stainless steel. Both the statue and base were constructed by A & A Industries and would have run about $500,000.
It's done in 3-dimensional formal with 12 facets, each representing a province that was decimated by the Turks.
"At no time did it interfere with normal production," said Mardiros. "We worked on it evenings and weekends."
It's all part of a $6 million Heritage Park project that was launched nine years ago. Dedication ceremonies are being planned this spring. The park will contain a labyrinth, a circular winding path in grass and inlaid stone, celebrating life's journey. A single jet of water will represent hope and rebirth.
"This park will be a focal point for Armenians each year," said son Gary, who serves as vice-president of operations. "It's a gift for the whole city of Boston, not just Armenians. Pride is part of being an Armenian."
To say Anahid and Aurelian Mardiros are community activists is putting it mildly. They complement the task as humanitarians and philanthropists. The Knights of Vartan honored Aurelian last year as Man of the Year.
A brief documentary had been prepared on his life, charting his days in Moldova, Romania, to his arrival here in 1975 and his aggressive business acumen. From a humble beginning, armed with a knowledge of machinery, he climbed his stairway to paradise one step at a time.
Anahid came into his life one day after Aurelian arrived in America. She, too, hailed from Romania and appears well versed in the business world, particularly the financial end.
"I'm very happy to be part of this memorial park," she says, "to let the world know that there was a genocide and to continue our fight for recognition. The sculpture remains as our legacy."