RYE, NY – The 12th annual initiation and luncheon of AHEPA’s James Plevritis Evzone Chapter # 405 of New Rochelle shined with hope for the future of the Greek-American community. There was a large turnout on December 6 to honor distinguished AHEPAN Costa Papademetriou, and it night have been the first time more people were initiated into the Sons of Pericles than to the adult AHEPA chapter, nine and eight people respectively.
Although Papademetriou has been an active AHEPAN for 25 years, the Order traditionally reserves the recognition he received at the Westchester Country Club for older gentlemen, but his excellence and commitment over that time commands attention, and it is not the only context in which he made significant contributions to the community.
Papademetrios is currently three term President of Holy Trinity Parish in New Rochelle. In the professional realm be is Global Head of Financial Services for media giant Thomson Reuters Communications.
Joseph C. Kean, the chapter’s long-time president and himself a high ranking executive for IBM, welcomed the guests. Father Nick Anctil, the pastor of Holy Trinity, offered the invocation and expressed appreciation both for Papademetriou’s service to the parish and his friendship.
Thomas Dushas, District 6 – Empire State governor and Evzone Chapter member greeted the guests and introduced Philip Frangos of East Lansing, MI, AHEPAs Supreme President, accompanied by Executive Director Basil Mossaides.
Frangos praised Papademetriou as “the consummate professional and a great family man who represents the great values of the community.”
The Supreme President also discussed other AHEPA matters, focusing on challenges and opportunities, saying the key to growth and success is encouraging “involvement,” especially getting young people involved. “Let then get into positions of responsibility,” he urged. “If they make mistakes, we will all learn from them.”
James B. Zafiros, the Chapter’s VP said the event was “a celebration of our proud AHEPA heritage and journey. With a membership approaching 200 people, it is the third largest in the nation, behind only Denver and Houston.
Zafiros invited Greg Stamos, AHEPAs Supreme Counselor, to introduce Papademetriou. “If you get a commitment from Costa you will get a four-star result,” Stamos said, adding “He encapsulates the three Fs: Friends family and faith, and added “How about that “Ph” also – Philotimo, love of honor… selfless service.”
Stamos told TNH, “Today we honor not only Costa but the concept of someone giving of himself.”
When he met Papademetriou 20 year ago, “I immediately recognized what a great future leader he would be.”
Papademetriou was moved as he took in the applause that greeted him when he reached the podium.
He thanked the chapter and it leadership for the honor and all the people who worked hard to make the event a success, including his brother George, whom he made stand up and acknowledged the friends he grew up with and joined AHEPA with him.
He was proud to relate the story of AHEPAs founding to fight discrimination against Greek immigrants and which “progressed “to become the largest fraternal Greek organization in the world and which is focused on promoting Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence.”
Papademetriou then said with solemnity, “I would not be standing in front of you receiving this honor if it wasn’t for the brothers in this room today – and some whom we have lost – who saw the potential in me at a young age.”
He said “They also encouraged me to join the Holy Trinity parish council at 27… and they had trust and confidence in me,” as he assumed ever more important responsibilities at the parish and the chapter.
He said “it has been a pleasure to work at everyone,” and praised Father Anctil “With whom I have formed a bond. I always told him I would only be president because I enjoyed working with him. I also enjoyed working with my executive board.”
Reminding all that community work entails teamwork within families, he said “I want to close by acknowledging one person, and that is my wife Tina, who over the years has supported me and encouraged me to participate in all these wonderful things.”
He also thanked his father, who was present. “He always made sure I was in church, in the altar, went to Sunday School and Greek School,” and then turned and said “So dad, I hope you are proud of me today.
“I am very proud to be an AHEPAN,” he said, adding, “I really thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for this honor.”
The sincere expressions of apprecation for Papademetriou were heartwarming.
Fr. John Romas, pastor of St. Nicholas in Lower Manhattan whose late father was pastor at Holy Trinity told TNH, “He is a good man. Everybody loves him.”
James Googas the current Supreme President of the sons of came all the way from Albany. He told TNH “he was the first one to reach out to me and offer help. He is always great to work with.”
“Costa has the characteristic of shark – but not the one people usually think of – it’s that he never stops swimming. In his family, his community, his work, he is constantly swimming and doing good,” said attorney Peter Lambros.
Former Supreme President Nick Karacostas congratulated the Evzone chapter for honoring Costa “because there is no more worthy candidate,” he told TNH “He is a pillar and a model leader for others to follow.”