FLUSHING – The Order of AHEPA hosted a fundraising event to assist the people of Cyprus, and especially its needy children, at Terrace on the Park in Flushing on October 4. The proceeds will support the philanthropic programs of the Archbishop of Cyprus in the face of the economic crisis the island nation is enduring on top of the continuing struggle to the reunify their country and end the illegal Turkish occupation.
According to AHEPA headquarters, the event raised $50,000, which will be channeled to Cyprus through the Cyprus relief program of the Archdiocese of America.
A special guest on hand was Congressman Elliot Engel, longstanding friend of the Greek- and Cypriot-American communities and outspoken and active supporter of the cause of justice for Cyprus – he was instrumental in the passage of the law which directed the successful investigation of missing Americans on Cyprus.
He had just flown back to New York after a tumultuous week in Washington that was dominated by the government shutdown, and it was noted that the Cyprus issue, thanks to the work of members of the community and its friends on Capitol Hill, is one of the few issues that unites Democrats and Republicans, especially through the work of the Hellenic Caucus.
Engel praised the Emcee, Philip Christopher, who is the president of the Pancyprian Association of America and PSEKA, although the congressman was forced to finally admit to him that his son Philip is named after his father, not Christopher.
Cyprus UN Ambassador, Nicos Emiliou, expressed his gratitude for the community, its organizations, including AHEPA, and its representatives for supporting the Cyprus cause since 1974, words echoed by Cyprus’ new Ambassador to the United States, George Chacalli.
Koula Sophianou, Cyprus’ Consul General in New York, offered her thanks with a personal touch, recounting the story of how James and Alexandra Poll contributed to her education and that of her sister through the Cyprus Children’s Fund. She said that “the children and their families depend on you and you can make a difference.”
Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, who is from Cyprus, was present representing Archbishop Demetrios.
Christopher said the organizers expected more people, but they were pleased with the contributions they received. Some guests noted the community was currently deluged with fundraisers.
Nevertheless, those in attendance enjoyed the food, fellowship and music performed by the Bob Nikolaides Orchestra and special guest performers including Tasos Papaioannou and Eleni Andreou.
“When you have a good cause and good people, even if they can’t show up, they will write checks,” one guest noted.
The speakers emphasized the importance of all such events because the full impact of the economic crisis has yet to hit the people of Cyprus.
Christopher noted AHEPA has raised $300,000 for Greece and is committed to doing the same for Cyprus. It was announced tha they have undertaken to fund a school in Limassol, Cyprus for needy children in that is run by the Red Cross.
Nicholas Karakostas, past Supreme President of AHEPA and PC president of the nearby Church of St. Nicholas, welcomed the guests and other AHEPA, including current Supreme President Anthony D. Kouzounis, Executive Director Basil Mossaides, and Daughter of Penelope Grand President Joanne Saltas of Salt Lake City, UT, who thanked everyone and declared “we know our initiatives will prevail.”
Also present were Supreme Vice President Philip Frangos, Supreme Treasurer Andrew Zachariades, Tom Dushas, AHEPA’s New York District Governor, New Jersey District Governor Sammy Thomas, and numerous local AHEPA officials.
Jimmy Kokotas, advisor to the Sons of Pericles, is pleased that efforts on behalf of Cyprus are gaining momentum. He was one of the attendees at a meeting called by Archbishop Demetrios earlier this year to galvanize the community’s organizations and inspire individual donors.
It was noted at the event that Demetrios Kaloides, who runs Terrace on the Park, has donated $100,000 to assisting Cyprus.
Presbytera Despina Kehagias, who attended with her daughter Maria, wore earrings
with red stones in honor of the famous pomegranates of Cyprus.
Among the sponsors were Christopher, Karacostas, Kaloides, Kokotas, Nikos Mouyiaris, Theo Hadjitheododiou, George Lucas, Dr. Spiro Macris, Frank Manios, Chris Gallis, Wolverine AHEPA Chapter 142 and Cape Fear Chapter 408.