Rather than have a birthday celebration for her 85th birthday, real estate agency owner and Watertown resident Sonia Boyajian decided to raise money to help homeless veterans.
Boyajian, who owns Real Estate 109 on the Belmont/Watertown line, asked the owner of Not Your Average Joe’s restaurants, Stephen Silverstein, about doing a month-long fundraiser.
“I just couldn’t accept that some of our veterans, who’d served our country, were without places to live,” Boyajian said.
Silverstein agreed to have the fundraiser at all 16 for the New England Center for Homeless Veterans of his restaurants and in addition offered to host a ticketed event in the Watertown NYAJs at the end of October to help launch Veterans Month in November.
The sold-out fundraiser, held on Oct. 28.
“Not only was it one of the biggest and best events we’ve ever done,” Silverstein said. “But we surely could have sold another 500 tickets. Everyone wanted to help.”
During the ceremony, Boyajian gave the veterans their due, and the crowd gave the vets a standing ovation.
“Our Vietnam veterans never got the thanks they deserved when they returned home. Tonight, we are thanking them,” Boyajian said.
Joining the celebration was folksinger Livingston Taylor, who performed at the fundraiser and is one of Boyajian neighbors.