Memorial forest in Armenia to honor expatriate couple


Foundation to plant trees in memory of pair killed in automobile accident.

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An environmental group and a memorial foundation aim to plant 50,000 trees in the Armenian countryside in honor of aGlendale couple who died in a car crash in May.

For every “like” to the Armenia Tree Project’s Facebook page, the organization plans to plant five trees in a so-called “memorial forest” for the expatriate couple, Sosé Thomassian and Allen Yekikian. The project is a joint effort with the Sosé & Allen’s Legacy Foundationa charitable organization that supports the couple’s values, including volunteerism and repatriation to Armenia.

Thomassian and Yekikian died while on a weekend getaway in the country of Georgia, just months before their first wedding anniversary. The couple moved to Armenia after having a destination wedding there. Thomassian, who was 30 when she died, grew up in Orange County and Yekikian, 28, was from La Crescenta. The two met through events hosted by the La Crescenta chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation.

“The forest really represents life,” said Areg Maghakian, director of Armenia operations for the Armenian Tree Project and a friend of the couple.

Armenia currently has 12.5% tree cover and Armenia Tree Project hopes to increase that to 25% over time, Maghakian said. Many of Armenia’s trees were cut down during an energy crisis in the 1990s.

As of Wednesday, the environmental group has received 2,500 likes, bringing its tree tally to 12,500.

“This will be a living, breathing memorial to Sosé and Allen,” said Vache Thomassian, Sosé Thomassian’s brother. “They will be making Earth more beautiful from heaven.”