RYE, NY – The James Plevritis-Joseph C. Keane AHEPA Chapter # 405 of New Rochelle honored Joseph C. Keane, Chapter President for 27 years, for his remarkable tenure, his outstanding contributions and dedication to the organization and its ideals at the 16th Annual Luncheon held on December 1 at the Westchester Country Club.
The event began with the initiation of new members followed by a procession with bagpipe as the honoree and the members of the chapter entered the hall for the luncheon and award presentation. John Metaxas served as the Master of Ceremonies and AHEPA New Rochelle President Harry Fotiadis, the event chairperson, gave the welcoming remarks. A video presentation highlighted Keane’s life, family, and contributions.
The speakers included Keane’s younger brother, Frances Xavier Keane, and two of Keane’s daughters, Dr. Nicole Alexandra and Michelle Eugenie Keane, who were visibly moved in speaking about their father and his dedication to family and the AHEPA ideals.
Fr. Nicholas Anctil, presiding priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in New Rochelle and Chapter #405 Chaplain, and Deacon John Catalano of St. Catharine’s Church in Pelham, NY, offered the opening prayer.
The awards presentation followed as Fr. Anctil and Holy Trinity Parish Council President Dino Yotides presented Keane with an icon in honor of his service. Lou Katsos, District 6 Lt. Governor and Delphi Chapter #25 President, and Demi Pamboukes, District 6 Governor, honored Keane with the Seraphim Canoutas Award on behalf of the AHEPA Cultural Commission.
George Karatzia, AHEPA Supreme Governor for Region III, introduced Ahepan David Castro, a veteran, and his service dog Hunter. Castro spoke about the AHEPA Service Dogs for Warriors program and how after serving in Iraq, he was having a difficult time readjusting to civilian life and the VA gave him 14 different medications to deal with his problem. He found out about the AHEPA program and applied for a service dog. Hunter has been with him for a year and a half and has changed his life for the better, saving his life and his wife’s as well. Castro joined AHEPA, too. Karatzia then announced that the next service dog would be named in honor of Keane.
James Zafiros, District 6 Director of Membership and Tom Dushas, Supreme Regional Governor, both longtime members of the New Rochelle Chapter, presented Keane with a plaque in honor of his years of dedication to the organization. Dushas read the inscription on the plaque noting that Keane is an outstanding American and Philhellene. Zafiros said, “No Ahepan in any chapter has been president for 27 years like Joe.”
Keane himself spoke about the way he became a part of the organization though he is “an Irish Catholic from Brooklyn,” and spoke warmly about his brothers in the chapter and especially about his wife Demetra, noting that she is “beautiful, smart, and my best friend.”
When a few years into their marriage someone asked if he had learned Greek, he said, “I just listen for my name,” but he now knows enough to order in a Greek restaurant “without having to point at the pictures.” Keane concluded his remarks by saying that he knows the most important word, “S’agapo.”
At the conclusion of the event, Keane’s wife Demetra was presented with a bouquet of flowers and she thanked everyone for honoring her husband for all his achievements and dedication to AHEPA.
AHEPA Supreme President George E. Loucas spoke movingly about the organization. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
AHEPA Supreme President George E. Loucas spoke eloquently about the meaning of the organization and how the encouraging words of his fellow Ahepans helped inspire him to beat cancer and make it to the renowned AHEPA New Rochelle luncheon as Supreme President this year, an event that he had been waiting eight years to attend, he said. Loucas also thanked his wife Sandra for all her support, asking her to stand up and be recognized. He pointed out the many achievements of the New Rochelle Chapter under the leadership of Joe Keane and encouraged everyone to click on AHEPA’s website and learn more about the latest initiatives and philanthropic efforts.
Among those present were Supreme Vice President James Kokotas, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos and Presvytera Xanthi, Albany Chapter #140 President George Pappis, District 6 Secretary Chris Pappis, last year’s honoree Dr. Nicholas Romas, and District 6 Director of Hellenism Vasilis Chrissochos and his wife Despina.
More information about AHEPA is available online: ahepa.org.
Honoree Joseph C. Keane at the podium. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
District 6 Lt. Governor and Delphi Chapter #25 President Lou Katsos, honoree Joseph C. Keane, and District 6 Governor Demi Pamboukes. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
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