JOANNE SARAFIAN, widow of Albert “Albie” D. Sarafian is shown with Morgan Rush, left, and granddaughter Ella Sarafian at the Crystal Community Club on Saturday, Dec. 9. (Gail Lowe Photo)

Published in the December 12, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — It was a party that no one who attended will quickly forget. On Saturday, Dec. 9, family, friends and colleagues gathered together at the Crystal Community Club on Preston Street for the second consecutive year to honor former Police Officer Albert D. Sarafian, who died on March 12, 2016 at age 63.

“I know he would have loved to be here,” said his wife Joanne Sarafian. “He was such a giving person. He helped more people than anyone can imagine.”

There was no price for admission, but people were invited to bring an unwrapped toy that would later be donated to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.

Sarafian was a champion for children from all walks of life and was devoted to seeing that the neediest did not go without toys at Christmas. One year when he was working as a police officer, he received an award from the State Police for the most toys collected in the State of Massachusetts.

“This is one way to keep his memory alive,” said Joanne Sarafian, whose sons Albert (Al) D. Sarafian Jr. and Lawrence (Larry) A. Sarafian help with the effort. In 2016, the event was held in November and drew hundreds of people, including children.

“Albie was a sensitive man, one who always had an eye on the needs of the less fortunate,” said Joanne Sarafian.

“As a child, he saw other kids have far less than he did and his desire to help the needy was born of his experience,” said Joanne. “He would just love that we’re collecting toys today in his memory.”

Children of all ages attended Saturday’s event, from infancy to middle school age. Yarrow, the balloon artist and regular at Wakefield’s Farmers Market, was on hand to make swords, animals and hats out of balloons. Children also had their faces painted and took turns at the mic to sing karaoke Christmas songs. Elsa from the Disney movie “Frozen” also made an appearance, much to the delight of the younger set.

There were also raffles and a silent auction featuring gift baskets of specialty food and gift cards to area restaurants. Food, including pizza, appetizers, cut fruit, Christmas cookies and sheet cake were there for the taking.

One of Albie’s friends, Mickey Laskey, said that Albie had a kindness rarely seen in today’s world.

“He was appreciative of every little thing. He was a sweet, sweet man.”