Aram G. Garabedian was born in Providence and raised by his Armenian parents. He graduated from Hope High School. After losing an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Maine, Aram decided to hitch-hike there anyway with just $35 in his possession. He convinced the University to admit him and graduated in 1957 without any debt. Aram then began a two- year hitch in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Upon his return to Rhode Island, he served six years in the active reserves, married his high school sweetheart Jane Bliss, and settled in Cranston to raise two children.
In 1966, Aram commenced his political career when he was elected to the Cranston School Committee. He also served in the Rhode Island House of Representatives; the Rhode Island Senate; and the Cranston City Council, of which he was president from 2005 to 2008.
In his city service, Aram led the charge to create a state-wide law mandating that children attend kindergarten and enter kindergarten at a uniform age. He sought and obtained the financing for the Cranston Vocational School, a valued treasure in Cranston to this day!
In state service, Aram sponsored laws compelling landlords to pay interest on security deposits and requiring schools to provide low-fat milk so students could enjoy healthy lunches. Convinced that “knowledge is power,” Representative Garabedian secured the passage of the “Genocide and Human Rights Education Law” which mandates that students learn about the Holocaust; the Armenian Genocide; the Irish Famine, and other recognized human rights violations. He proposed a law creating the Nursing Home Coordinating Council and sponsored the “Patient’s Accountability Act” requiring “patient logs” to assure that patients are receiving adequate care and that the state is paying only for services rendered.
Aram has been actively involved in a myriad of community causes and public service endeavors. Most notably he served on the Boards of Rhode Island Red Cross and Meals on Wheels and assisted or sponsored many other organizations such as International Institute, Dorcas Place, Harmony Hill School, the Western Cranston Little League, and Genesis Center.
Aram joined forces with Hall of Fame General Reginald Centracchio and his committee to renew efforts to raise funds needed to complete the long-awaited World War II Veterans Monument in Providence, stating that “it was imperative that Rhode Island honor those who made the supreme sacrifice.” In less than one year after Aram resolved to get the stalled project moving, the monument was completed and his efforts were gratefully acknowledged.
When the 2010 Great Floods devastated many Rhode Island homes and businesses, including Rhode Island’s Warwick Mall where Aram is the Co-Managing Partner, he assured the community that Rhode Island would rebound and that the Mall would rebuild. Despite facing millions of dollars in property damage, Aram focused his efforts first upon mall employees and those who lost their homes, coining the phrase, “Count on Us!!”
Aram’s drive, determination, humanitarianism, and qualities of leadership have greatly enriched present-day Rhode Island and earned for him induction into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.
- Mary B. Shekarchi-Garabedian, Esq.
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