Larry Arken’s donation to FAR would have been considered yet another gesture of good will to help the Armenian people if it wasn’t for the message he left along with his gift.

“Dear Arto,” it read, addressing FAR’s New York Programs Manager Arto Vorperian. “Thank you for helping to open my eyes to a much broader issue.”

Arken is a commanding officer and flight leader for the GEICO Skytypers, a vintage aircraft flight squadron that performs at select airshows across the U.S. The company has promoted messages such as “101 years of Geno-lie,” “Gr8 ally = Turkey,” “BFF = Russia + Armenia,” and “,” which were written in the sky above New York City on April 20th of this year. The genocide denial propaganda was part of a campaign from the website FactCheckArmenia. The campaign was met with great protest from Armenians, and was followed by an apology from the GEICO Skytypers, explaining how they failed to examine the messages before carrying them out.

The New York Friends of Gavar Special Team Leader Krikor Krikorian was among those who called and expressed their anger over the incident to the Skytypers. Krikorian’s conversation with Arken went beyond the genocide issue to Armenia’s development, and specifically to Gavar Special School, for which The New York Friends of Gavar Special Team organizes crowdfunding and other donation efforts to support the school. FAR implements the team’s projects.

After his conversation with Krikorian, Arken contacted FAR, talked to Arto, and ultimately made a donation to benefit of the people of Armenia.