Topeka – Governor Jeff Colyer spoke Friday at an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Spitak Earthquake in Armenia, a disaster Gov. Colyer assisted with as a medical first responder in 1988. Gov. Colyer was sent to Armenia by then President Ronald Reagan after the earthquake hit. He was one of the first medical responders to arrive in the country after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed Spitak within 30 seconds, killing 25,000 people and injuring nearly 140,000 people.
“The disaster I saw 30 years ago was tragic, and through the tragedy the Armenian nation showed courage and resilience,” said Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. “Many lives were lost, and many other lives were changed that day. It is important that as humanitarians we always answer the call for help when others need it.”
Kansas Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli also attended the commemoration with Gov. Colyer. Kansas and Armenia first established a bilateral affairs agreement in June 2003. Fifteen years later, the partnership continues to foster strong relations between the United States and the Republic of Armenia. Kansas and Armenia enjoy an enduring relationship built upon mutual understanding, trust and genuine friendships shared across and throughout our forces. Collaborative efforts between Kansas and Armenia have paved the way for the modernization of the Armenian Armed Forces in the areas of defense reform, enhanced interoperability, defense education reform and civil emergency planning.
“These types of partnerships are critical to international security cooperation,” said Tafanelli. “The United States is most successful when it partners with friends and allies to achieve mutual security goals. Armenian peacekeepers have trained alongside Kansas Guardsmen as a result of the State Partnership Program, and many other enduring relationships have been developed benefiting both Armenia and the United States.”