CLEVELAND — From the moment he first set foot on United States soil 50 years ago today (Jan. 28), Demetrios *quot;Jim*quot; Anagnostos has been grateful for the opportunity to succeed. Now he wants to help those struggling like he once did.
The owner of The Diner on 55th, a restaurant at the corner of St. Clair Avenue and East 55th Street, says he was reminded of his childhood when he watched scenes from earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
Anagnostos, who grew up in Greece and arrived in America on Jan. 28, 1960, says he and his family suffered during World War II, and during the subsequent Greek civil war.
*quot;I remember in 1942 and 1943, when we had to run from the Nazis into the forest, and stayed in the woods for weeks. We were so afraid,*quot; the friendly restaurateur told WKYC.
*quot;No food, no fires, we couldnt go back to our homes because you didnt know what was there. It was a disaster, really. But the civil war in my country was worse yet. We lived very frightened.*quot;
Anagnostos has pledged to donate $1 to Haitian relief for every meal ordered at his Diner for at least the next 30 days.
*quot;I will try as much as I can for a whole month, and maybe again later. And maybe again,*quot; he promised.
*quot;When I looked at the pictures from Haiti, I felt those people need something. They need somebody. They need help,*quot; he said, while reminding customers of both his anniversary and his plans to help Haiti.
*quot;You think about it and it hurts you to see all those young kids. I want to see those people back on their feet.*quot;
Anagnostos remembered that he *quot;felt free*quot; when he landed in the United States in 1960, and started work right away in restaurants and other businesses until he could become an owner.
He operated the Shoreway Restaurant on East 72nd Street for many years.
*quot;I had many opportunities,*quot; he said, gratefully. *quot;I want to help the people of Haiti have theirs.*quot;