When U.S. Ambassador to Greece George J. Tsunis, a Brother Ahepan, and his wife, Olga, invited the Order of AHEPA to a private event at the ambassador’s residence on November 14, 2022, it was truly a special moment. They were happy to see and host a delegation of AHEPA officers and rank-and-file members who were visiting Athens for a series of events hosted by AHEPA’s Europe Region to commemorate AHEPA’s Centennial. It was not lost on the delegation the significance of being hosted by “one of us” – a fellow Greek American, who was the son of Greek immigrants, and who ascended to become America’s top representative in his ancestral home, the birthplace of Western Civilization, Athens, Greece.
To celebrate AHEPA’s Century of Service in Athens with a banquet before a sold out audience of 535 people at the Divani Caravel Hotel on the following day, November 15, also was momentous. It seems like just yesterday when AHEPA held its 2021 Supreme Convention in Athens to commemorate Greece’s bicentennial, and most recently, when Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented the Order of AHEPA with the prestigious Order of Phoenix award in May, 2022, an honor that no other organization has received.
Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas presented several awards that honored all branches of the Hellenic Arms Forces and the Cyprus National Guard. We were honored to have the commanding officers of each of the branches in attendance to present them with the newly created AHEPA Vanguard Award because each of the militaries is at the forefront of defending Europe against malign influences and bad actors in the region. The Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, gave a formal response in which he highlighted the many ways AHEPA has supported Greece’s Armed Forces. Chief of the Cypriot National Guard, Lieutenant General Demokritos Zervakis, accepted the award and spoke about the struggle of Cyprus and AHEPA’s support of the country.
The highlight of the evening occurred when Supreme President Kokotas presented U.S. Ambassador Tsunis with the AHEPA Pericles Award for excellence in public service.
Apropos of the evening’s program, Supreme President Kokotas spoke about the Order’s bright future due to a solid foundation of AHEPA’s ‘Century of Service’ that has now firmly taken root globally, especially in Greece. No other organization has done so much, donated so much, and persevered so much, he said. Kokotas thanked all of the organizers and maintained AHEPA will continue to grow and expand and forge a new legacy in its next century of service.
Lastly, as part of our ‘Centennial Celebration’ in Greece, AHEPA also made it a point celebrate with athletics – a major component of what makes AHEPA special -by hosting AHEPA’s inaugural International Golf Championship at the Costa Navarino Resort, near Kalamata, on November 16-19.
Basil N. Mossaidis serves as the Executive Director of the Order of AHEPA.