The AHEPAN - Winter/Spring 2010 - 17
Supreme President Karacostas and Emcee Hanches present Senator Wyden with the AHEPA-Paul E. Tsongas Public Service Award.
Congressman Blumenauer receives the AHEPA Pericles Award.
I received the Academy of Achievement Award in Journalism. In my remarks I responded to something both Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer had taken time to reflect on. Each had mentioned how moved they were whenever they entered or walked through the U.S. Capitol in Washington. I noted that it was a Greek, Constantine Brumidis, who had painted the worldclass frescos that adorn it. Kostas Mallios, a Microsoft executive accepted the Academy of Achievement Award In Business. In accepting his award Mr. Mallios recalled how as a small boy he would see the Greeks going from house-to-house in the Greek neighborhood with a small paper bag. Such was the solidarity among the Greeks they would share what they could since this was the only way many of them could raise money to start their own first businesses. Dr. Thalia Papayannopoulou received the Academy of Achievement Award in Medicine and also received one on behalf of Dr. George Stamatoyannopoulos, who was in Greece, his Academy of Achievement Award in Medicine. In acceptance for both awards, Dr. Papayannopoulou stated that without the ongoing support of family, friends and community the often lonely work of research was impossible.
pSG rumpakis announces $250K Gift to alma mater for hellenic Studies
A change in the evening’s program occurred when Supreme President Nicholas A. Karacostas asked Hanches if he could introduce the final honoree. Past Supreme Governor E. John Rumpakis received the Supreme President Award of Excellence in preserving and promoting Hellenism in the United States. Giving what proved to be the keynote speech Mr. Rumpakis’ thoughts focused on the future. As Rumpakis sees it, leadership, long-range planning
and reengaging the local chapters at the grassroots are the best methods to take Hellenism in North America to the next level. Rumpakis challenged those present to be the ones to offer that leadership, to be the ones to chart out the needed planning, and to be the very source of energy and drive needed. This was also the occasion when it was formally announced that Rumpakis had donated $250,000 to launch the Hellenic Studies Program at Portland State University. This was not the first time Rumpakis has donated to his alma mater. From the ages of 32 to 52, Rumpakis gave an annual scholarship that was earmarked for seniors in the School of Business studying real estate practices. In traveling to Oregon and in the time I spent speaking with what seemed like dozens and dozens of local Greeks of the Great Northwest, I kept thinking about how AHEPA or any of the fraternal organizations really operated as social forums. I have seen, and not just in the Great Northwest but around the country, how fraternal organizations have helped Greek Americans grow and develop as individuals. It is one thing to say that the children of the first immigrants learned speaking skills and a refined public presence from their daily jobs. But I have long wondered how did their parents, the first immigrant generation, succeed in the Greek War Relief efforts of World War II? Where did they acquire their deep confidence and obvious polished political skills? I am not a member of any Greek fraternal or church-based organization. But it is not difficult to realize based on my experiences attending AHEPA’s regional biennial banquet that long-term friendships and honestly-felt affection existed between the local Greeks, academics, and politicians. An organic grassroots revival of Greek America seems to me to be the only way Hellenism will continue in North America, or anywhere else.