SALUTES THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT; THREE OUTSTANDING GREEK AMERICANS
Olympian Tom Pappas proudly displays the 2004 Harry Agganis Award.
With him are (l-r): Archbishop Demetrios, Supreme President A. Jack Georgalas, Pappas, and Supreme Vice President Franklin Manios.
The Olympic Spirit was alive and well at the 36th AHEPA
National Banquet, February 16, 2004.
The program was themed "Honoring the Olympic
Spirit" and it featured a variety of Olympians of Greek heritage from
different generations, from the world's oldest living Olympian, Peter
to this summer's favorite to win Gold in the Decathlon, U.S.
Champion Tom Pappas.
was honored with the Harry Agganis Award for excellence in the
of athletics. The 26
year old is the reigning World Champion in the
and the Indoor Heptathlon.
six-foot five-inch, 210-pound champion stood like a giant when called
the podium by Supreme Vice President Franklin Manios to receive the Harry
do everything I can to bring the Gold home," he said.
to AHEPA for its support of him and his siblings throughout their
Excellence, AHEPA Saluted
other outstanding Greek Americans received accolades that evening:
Andrew S. Natsios, administrator, United States Agency for International
(USAID) and Dr. E.G. Stassinopoulos, astrophysicist, National
and Space Administration (NASA).
was the recipient of the Archbishop Iakovos Humanitarian Award for
work in leading USAID during the past three years.
He also served as
Master of Ceremonies.
is responsible for the oversight of the monumental task of providing
and humanitarian assistance to over 100 countries in order to
a better life for all," said Supreme President A. Jack Georgalas in
presentation of the award to Natsios.
"It is our honoree, Mr
himself a member of AHEPA, who represents the United States in
of these worthy endeavors, and we are proud of him."
Stassinopoulos was the recipient of the Aristotle Award for the
recognition received for his scientific work by his
and for excellence in his profession.
An employee of NASA for 43 years,
has had many achievements during his career.
moved by the award, he expressed his gratitude to AHEPA, to his
and to his family for the honor. Dr.
his respects to those whose path he followed.
would like to pay my respects to our great Hellenic forefathers who
the foundations upon which subsequent generations met the alienisms of
medicine, engineering, and technology that have flourished
modern culture," he said. "As
a youth, I read with pride about
discoveries, inventions and achievements of our fellow Hellenes."
Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD) praised AHEPA for its charitable,
and civic work. Specifically,
the senior senator from
touched upon the AHEPA's Senior Housing Program, Scholarship Program, and
diligent work of the organization's Cyprus and Hellenic Affairs
Sarbanes also addressed the enormous challenges facing Greece on the
of the Olympic Games, especially one of the smallest countries to host
Games, but added that he feels that Greece will do a wonderful job.
look forward to Greece staging a wonderful Olympics," he said.
Speaker Professor Alexander Kitroeff provided an eloquent
of the history of the revival of the modern Olympic Games and
contributions of the Diaspora Greeks to the Modern Games.
of the newly released book "Wrestling with the Ancients: Modern Greek
and the Olympics," Prof. Kitroeff's keynote address was as timely
it was germane to the theme of the banquet.
Greek Diaspora has played a crucial role in Greece's efforts to
the revival of the Ancient Games, off the athletic field but also on
Eminence Archbishop Demetrios masterfully tied in one of the great
of the Olympic Movement with the theme of the evening-the
see the Olympics as an opportunity by projecting this highest possible
value," said His Eminence. "Here,
tonight, by dedicating this
to the spirit of the Olympics, you dedicate the evening to the spirit of
excellence, and to the spirit of a constant unyielding pursuit of
here and everywhere."
concluding remarks, Supreme President A. Jack Georgalas offered that
program brought to the forefront the invaluable contributions of the
Greeks through those who were represented on the dais that evening.
have outstanding examples of Hellenes who represent the best of what
ancestors contributed to Western Civilization," he said.
"We have with us
individuals who lead in government, athletics, civic service, the
education, and in Hellenism."
a prelude to the program, the angelic voices of children, some of who
not Greek, projected Olympic hymns and anthems that entertained the
They also reenacted a stirring rendition of the ceremonial
lighting that is held in Olympia prior to each Olympic Games.
and Chapter 31 President Tassos Vassilas organized this endearing
of the program.
Greek American, Staff Sgt. William Kanteres, led "The President's
States Marine Corps Band which played patriotic hymns and state
that excited the crowd upon their entrance into the ballroom.