On December 7, 1988, an earthquake devastated the northwestern section of Armenia, killing tens of thousands of persons. In one small town, directly after the earthquake, a father rushed to his son's school only to find that the school had been flattened and there was no sign of life.
But he had no thought of turning back. He had often told his son, "No matter what, I'll always be there for you when you need me!"
Though the prospects appeared hopeless, he began feverishly removing rubble from where he believed his son's classroom had been. Other forlorn parents only wailed hopelessly. "My son!" "My daughter!" Some told the father to go home, that there was no chance that any of the pupils could be alive. To which this loving father replied, "I made my son a promise that I'd be there for him anytime he needed me. I will continue to dig."
Courageously, he proceeded alone. No one volunteered to help him. He simply had to know for himself: "Is my boy alive or is he dead?"
With strength and endurance beyond himself, the faithful, loving father continued to dig... for 8 hours... for 12 hours... 24 hours... 36 hours. Then in the 38th hour, as he heaved away a heavy piece of rubble, he heard voices. "Armand!" he screamed.
A child's voice responded: "Dad! It's me, Armand!" Then, "I told the other kids not to worry. I told 'em that if you were alive, you'd save me, and when you saved me, they'd be saved. You promised you would always be there for me! You did it, Dad!"
Moments later, the dad was helping his son Armand and 13 other frightened, hungry, thirsty boys and girls climb out of the debris. Free at last! When the building collapsed, these children had been spared in a tent-like pocket. The father lovingly carried his son home to his mother, where he was given the care he needed.
When the townspeople praised Armand's dad, his explanation was, "I promised my son, ‘No matter what, I'll be there for you!'"