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Honoring Our Veterans Event by AHEPA Family of Hempstead

By Catherine Tsounis

Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it. – Pericles

The AHEPA Family of Hempstead held a 2021Christmas Dinner and Veterans Medal Awards recognition presentation “Honoring Our Veterans” on Sunday, December 12, at JONATHAN’S in New Hyde Park, NY. Twenty-three veterans were honored. The awards with Washington D.C. were organized by Kenneth L. Anderson, Director of Veterans Affairs of AHEPA Constantine Cassis Chapter 170.

The Congressional approved certificates took three to compile and arrange. The honored veterans included: Fred Aleferies; Kenneth L. Anderson; Harry C. Demiris; Gus Drapan; Gus Kratsios; George K. Lavas; Willam Lombard; George Lucas; Gus Lucas; Nicholas Lucas; Paul Lucas; Leonard P. Marks; George P. Possas; Harry Raptakis; Constantine Rigopoulos; Paul Sekas; Dr. John Siolas; Gus Valerakis; John Valerakis; Christos Vretzakis; Peter Xanthos; Apostolos Zaferiou; Jack Piniat; Silvio Capoccia ( Babylon 416). John G. Siolas, Ph.D., was recognized for 50 years of service to AHEPA. Ahepa Chapter 170 Vice President, James Ginis was presented with the award of  “AHEPAN of The Year.”

Honored AHEPA guests were the following persons: Empire District 6 Governor Dean Moskos, estia –Pindus / Gus Cherivas Flushing Chapter; Past Region 3 Supreme Governor Ted Manolios, President of AHEPA Chapter No.416; Past District Governor Demi Pamboukes, Constantine Cassis Chapter No. 170; Past District 6 Governor Marie Kratsios, DOP Medoussa Chapter; Past District 6 Governor Fran Lutfy, DOP Paithea Chapter; Past District 6 Marshall and Current District 6 Director of Parade Paul Macropoulos, Gold Coast chapter 456 in Manhasset NY; Chris Manolios, Past District 6 Governor of the Sons of Pericles and Current Treasurer of Babylon AHEPA Chapter No.416; John Damaskos, Public Relations/Mass Media Director, Port Jefferson Chapter No. 319; George Kallas, Vice-President of the Port Jefferson Chapter No. 319; Mike Kontonicolas, Treasurer of the Port Jefferson Chapter No. 319, and prominent members of the New York communities.

“It was my honor to be part of this memorial Christmas dinner by the AHEPA Hempstead family to honor our veterans,” said Empire District 6 Governor Dean Moskos. “My congratulations to the Hempstead chapter president Anastasis Stampolis for an exemplary event.”

“I am honored to be president at this particular historic time as our AHEPA Organization Founded on a National Level founded in 1922 is embarking on a 100-year Celebration”, explained AHEPA chapter 170 President Anastasis Stampolis. “Our Constantine Cassis chapter is celebrating its 93rd anniversary of its founding. 93 years!! Founded in 1928. I feel truly blessed to be here and among all of you. My presidency would not be as successful or possible, had I not had the guidance and support of many of you here tonight.

President Stampolis summarized some of the AHEPA Family of Hempstead’s achievements in 2021. “The number of active brothers sworn into our Constantine Cassis Chapter No. 170 has grown to well over 125 members. In the Hellenic room at 1 pm in our Great Cathedral of Saint Paul, we initiated over 25 members into our organization. The Lord Byron chapter 233 Sons had an initiation today as well. The Maids of Athena Victory Chapter 76 will be having initiations later in this week. Our Pasithea Chapter Daughters had initiations in November.  We have successfully grown the Sons of Pericles. The Maids Victory Chapter 76 is growing as well, as my daughter Anastasia is a proud new member this Month”.

The of the Port Jefferson Chapter No. 319 members shares with this writer their impressions and Greek roots from Constantinople and Smyrna, Asia Minor, Karpathos in Dodecanese islands and Crete. “It’s an honor of be part of AHEPA and in the company of great persons and the community” said  Mike Kontonicolas. John Damaskos believes “the event was a fantastic way to advance the brotherhood of Ahepa”. George Kallas explained “the greatest generation is something to never be forgotten and be forever remembered”.

 Kenneth Anderson worked behind the scenes to inspire this event. “I am a Vietnam War veteran and know how it feels to be recognized. When I came home, I was unrecognized by my country. No one welcomed us like the WWII veterans. I am not political. We swear to fight for our country and uphold the United States constitution. Before I went to Vietnam, I was a kid. I returned to respect the United States of America and what we have. My daughter respects her Greek heritage and says she is Greek, with the Greek flag in her room”.

We are a dynamic chapter located in the heart of Long Island in Hempstead NY. The Constantine Cassis Chapter is committed to the ideals of Hellenism, Education and to further the mission of the Order of AHEPA,” expressed President Anastasios Stampolis. AHEPA is the largest Greek American association in the world with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, and sister chapters in Australia and New Zealand. It was established in 1922 by visionary Greek Americans to protect Hellenes from prejudice originating from the KKK. In its history, AHEPA joined with the NAACP and B’nai B’rith International to fight discrimination.

The mission of the AHEPA family is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism. Anastasis Stampolis, dedicated President of AHEPA Constantine Cassis Chapter# No. 170 was the reason many of us attended. His charismatic personality is helping this chapter grow. Socrates’ tribute describes the honorees: “He is a man of courage who does not run away but remains at his post and fights against the enemy”.