The AHEPAN - Winter/Spring 2010 - 16
pacific northwest community Shines in Gala affair
by Steve Frangos
ince 1929, the American Hellenic Educational The Senator was relaxed and clearly among friends and not and Progressive Association (AHEPA) has held a just constituents. Naming long time friends at his table and banquet in Washington, D.C. honoring the United in the audience the Senator not only received an award but States Congress. Over the years this biennial affair was able to share memoires and thoughts with people he had typically drew well over a 1,000 individuals. For the first known all his life. time AHEPA has elected to divide the country into four U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), recipient of the AHEPA great regions. This new regional approach is something of Pericles Award, was also a decade’s long friend of the local a return to an older style of AHEPA meeting where local Greek community. In the friendly banter that the congressgrassroots connections are the rule of the day. Each regional man obviously encouraged, Hanches interrupted the conbanquet is designed to not only honor regional congresgressman to remind him not to forget an upcoming Hellenic sional officials but also other Hellenes and philhellenes of sponsored fund-raising marathon. To the great enjoyment of particular exception. the attendees, Congressman Blumenauer reminded one and The Portland Marriott Downtown Riverfront, Portland, all he could not possibly participate in the marathon because Ore. was selected as the location of the 2010 Western he was working at the Portland Hellenic Festival on that Regional Biennial Banquet held on March 6, 2010. Peter particular day! (Panagiotis) Amanatidis, Governor of Firwood District 22 U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) received the AHEPA served as banquet chairman. With hundreds in attendance, Meritorious Public Service Award. I should note here that the this banquet proved a true success for AHEPA through audience gave standing ovations nine times--not only for their its program, honorees acceptance remarks and enthusiasgovernment representatives but for many of the evening’s tic response by those gathhonorees. ered. Given that the first Dr. Harry Anastasiou Biennial Regional Banquet in was awarded the Academy New York City attracted 300 of Achievement Award in attendees for their successful Academics. Dr. Anastasiou’s fete speaks volumes for not award had particular local only the event in Oregon but meanings. Since 1974, AHEPA the merit of this return to a chapters across Oregon and grassroots focus. Washington, as elsewhere in Nicholas G. Hanches, District the country, have been espe22 Lt. Governor, served the evecially concerned with jusning as Master of Ceremonies, tice and human rights. Harry and nine individuals were honAnastasiou’s publications, ored with AHEPA Achievement teaching and personal involveAwards. ment in conflict resolution First was U.S. Sen. Ron on Cyprus have and remain Wyden (D-OR) who received the singular contributions. When AHEPA Paul E. Tsongas Memorial the attendees rose to applaud Award for Public Service. Senator this man, they were obviously Wyden’s remarks set the tone for Supreme President Karacostas presents PSG Rumpakis with the Supreme honoring and recognizing a President’s Award of Excellence. all who followed. favorite son.