Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   24 March

Sargis Stepanyan: Border protector acknowledges that he protects his own family

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 29, ARNENPRESS. If someone is surrounded by strong people, he cannot be weak. Sargis Stepanyan, major in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, is convinced that strength does not imply only physical strength.

Sargis Stepanyan was awarded with “Haykian” award by President Serzh Sargsyan a few days ago for demonstration of combat courage and devotion when fulfilling service duties. In an interview with “Armenpress” the modern-day hero tells about the feat, importance of “Haykian” award and the younger generation.

Receiving “Haykina” award was very inspiring

It was a great honor, especially considering that the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces was delivering the prize. It commits to be stronger and firmer in the future and take new measures better. The youth met me with applause and respect. It is a great honor for me; it gives me life and strength. I am strong with my people, I am not alone, and all stand by me. This is everything for me.

I serve up till now

My military service started in 2007 and I serve up till now. I was severely injured. The incident occurred in July-August, 2014. The situation on the border was rather strain then. A subversive group of the enemy had attacked in the direction of our border units. Despite our units managed to repel the enemy, we had an injured service-mate in the neutral zone. I received an order to take him out of the neutral zone. The area was mined. Considering that every second can be fatal for our friend, I tried to act very quickly. While fulfilling the task, a mine exploded under my feet. I was injured; I lost both of my legs and one hand.  

Service is an inseparable part of my life

My father is a participant of the Artsakh liberation war. He was in the battlefield during war times. I was small at that time, but I was curious and asked many questions. My father asked Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan to engage me in some type of service. Considering my abilities, I was enrolled into Special Forces.

My father always gave me advice, and so does he now

After the incident, when I was taken to the central hospital, the doctors had told that I would return to consciousness in 3-4 days, but I woke up the next day surprising everyone. I called my father. It was difficult for him to enter my room. Then, when he came, I was in bed. He came up to me, we talked a little and he was very happy. He might be thinking that if someone loses half of his body, something changes in the brains. And he was extremely happy seeing that everything is normal.

Life on the border

Everyone protecting the border acknowledges that first of all he protects his family. It commits him to be more vigilant and attentive not to make a mistake. Everyone realizes that they protect the border for their Motherland and do it with pride.

…Our President said that we have brilliant youth. He is right, they are patriots, and they protect the border somehow in a different way, more enthusiastically. They enjoy being trusted. Most important, they are strong. Our youth, as the President says, fulfills any task brilliantly.

Love towards sports

I used to be professionally engaged in weightlifting. I recorded rather good results, but it was impossible to combine it with service, so I quitted…

Now I am more focused on arm wrestling. By God's Generosity I will participate in world tournament this year in Hungary. I train with my coach sparing no efforts. We prepare for the victory.

Lover of extreme life

I have conducted 113 parachute jumps. I like extreme lifestyle, speed, highness and so on. I took mountaineering training courses in Greece. I have plans to go down a multiple-storied building by a rope. I will again conduct a parachute jump. Months had passed since the incident; I climbed up a mountain, I was not well adapted to the artificial limbs yet. I continue living the way I did before.

I stood on my feet as a result of hard work

When Movses Hakobyan brought the medal of “Courage” awarded to me by Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan’s decree, I was on a barrow, one and a half month had passed since the incident. AT that time I told in an interview that after another one and a half month I will stand up and return to service. Many might have taken my words with skepticism, but I stood up due to hard work.

And I received the medal of “Courage” bestowed by the President of Armenia in November. I stood up by myself, went up to Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan, he handed the medal to me and embraced.

I have two sons

One is 12 years old, the other-10. They are quite active, prudent; they know how to respect elderly people, which is very important for me. They study and go in for sports. My younger son says he want to become a serviceman. Let them become whatever they want.

I consider myself strong

I am not boasting. If someone is surrounded by strong people he cannot be weak. A weak person surrounds himself with weak people. Saying strong I do not mean physically, I am talking about spiritual strength. Any obstacle can discourage people. There are moments when I become very sad, but I do my best to show my surrounding that I am strong and inspire them by my actions and example. Everything can be overcome. I am surrounded by good willing people.

…Now I serve, I deliver lectures and transfer my experience to the youth. I teach them some things. I plan also to study at the military academy this year in order to refine myself.

Roza Grigoryan

Photos by Eduard Sepetchyan

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