Arcadians Celebrate at Terrace on the Park

FLUSHING – Geros tou Morea, the founding chapter of the Pan-Arcadian Federation of America, which is named for the great Greek revolutionary war hero Theodoros Kolokotronis, celebrated its 82nd anniversary on November 22 at Flushing’s Terrace on the Park.

The dance was the occasion for honoring two distinguished Hellenes, Dr. Spyros Mezitis, Founder and President of the Federation of Hellenic Medical Societies of North America, and Panagiotis Marneris, builder and philanthropist, who established the “George Marneris Scholarship Fund” in memory of his son, George, who was lost in a tragic automobile accident at the age of 18.

Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Demetrios, offered the invocation, and he was accompanied by St. Demetrios High School’s dance group, who together with the Young Arcadian Dancers, delighted the guests.

Chris Vournas, 1st VP of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, also offered greetings, praised the honorees and congratulated the 2013 recipients of the Geros tou Morea’s society’s scholarships: Kleomenis Lagos, Vassileia Sideras, and  Theodora Panagos.

The guests enjoyed delicious food and wonderful live music led by Tassos Papaioannou and his Orchestra at the event hosted by the chapter’s president, Demetris A. Filios. Demetris Valkanas and Rebecca Panagos who welcome all as the joint Emcees.

Filios offered a special welcome to the children and young adults who were present. The Federation and its chapters are among the community groups most dedicated to reaching out to its youth and placing them in positions of authority.

Federation President George N. Reveliotis traveled from Chicago to share in the festivities. He was born in New York and said he is happy to see his relatives when he visits, but he also looks forward to making new friends, to partaking of the spirit of progress of the chapter, and to acknowledge its cultural and philanthropic work.

Marneris said thank you “from the bottom of my heart” to the officers and members of the chapter and the Federation “for the kind words and plaque that I am not worthy of.”

Mezitis expressed pride in being an Arcadian by choice – his father-in-law is from Megalopolis – but noted his roots are deep in the Peloponnese, in Laconia and Messenia. Offering thanks for the award and praise to the hosts, Mezitis said they are among the more progressive community organizations.

He also spoke about the importance of the cooperation between the Federation of Hellenic Medical Societies of North America, the Hellenic Medical Society of NY, of which his brother Dr. Nicholas Mezitis is president, and the Pan Arcadia Federation for the benefit of the Pan Arcadian hospital in Tripoli, Greece which the latter group established.

He is currently the health advisor to New York mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s transition team and urged the community to continue to work to increase its presence in the political realm.

Dr. Evangelos Giannakouras, the Deputy Administrator of the Regional Unit of Arcadia came from Greece with his wife and he moved the guests with a passionate speech about the pride he feels when he witnesses the love for Greece in the Diaspora and community, and especially from the youth.

After thanking the community for their assistance during the crisis, he urged everyone to visit “Arcadia, that mystical, historic, beautiful place…with its hospitable people…we are waiting for you.”