LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles woman is on a mission of compassion. Taguhi Oganyan traveled from Glendale to Armenia to offer solace to families of fallen and injured soldiers. In addition, she also handed out donations she has collected from a GoFundMe account.
For grieving families, her visits offer them a great deal of financial assistance and give them a chance to honor their heroes.
"Most of these moms are younger than me. You go and hug an 18-year-old’s mom and you know the only thing you can do is give them your strength and your energy,"Oganyan said.
Oganyan says she sprang into action when Azerbaijan began its offensive on September 27. She wanted to do something to help, so she created a GoFundMe with a goal of raising $20,000.
“Just within four,five minutes I hit $17,000 and I was like 'oh ok,' so lifted my goal to 40 and had $38,000.”
Within three days she had managed to raise $683,000.
“I have visited, along with my team, 146 wounded soldiers and 142 fallen soldiers’ families. We’ve seen the moms. We’ve seen the dads. We’ve met the girlfriends who’ve lost their love,” Oganyan told FOX 11’s Araksya Karapetyan.
There are numerous young wives left behind with newborn babies now. Being a mother of a 20-year-old herself, hits her hard-- the fact that most of the soldiers are young men ---younger than the conflict itself.
"The first thing that hit me was the year they were born. 2000. 2001. 2002. Are the main ones 1999? My son was born in the year 2000, so it really hit me because most of these moms are younger than me," she added.
No one knew she was coming. Oganyan said she just shows up and spends time with the family.
“I walk into homes and I talk about their son. Did he have a good sense of humor? Was he tall? Did he grow up in this house? You try to keep a normal conversations with them and at the same time it’s draining and you're thinking what if they have a question that I don't have an answer to because they think I'm from the diaspora, and I should know more than them.”
She then discreetly leaves a little something behind and walks away.
"Our donations are silent actually, I walk in leave the envelope somewhere where they will see it when I leave. Don’t want them to know that I came there for a donation. I just want them to know that the diaspora is with them," she explained.
She also spends a great deal of time visiting the wounded and visits them in the hospital or in their homes.
Oganyan says she is blown away by their bravery.
“Each one of them said ‘I can’t wait to get better, because I need to go back there’. Missing an arm, missing a leg, shoulder. A collection of metal. ‘I can’t wait to get better. They’re waiting for me there’”, she stated.
Armenia has a population of about three million and she says the whole world needs to know what’s happening in this little country.
“Because if the word genocide is not acceptable. It’s happening right now. It’s happening right at this minute that I’m talking to you. It’s happening on the front lines and I don’t know what their mission is. I honestly don’t know what their mission is but they’re not going to get to the end of their mission. That’s a fact,” she exclaimed.