GARFIELD, NJ – Pan Gregorian of New Jersey’s P.G.E.I. of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. honored Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras at its 34th Anniversary Charity Ball on November 11 at the Venetian in Garfield.
During the event, this year's scholarships were also awarded to students including Nikolaos Harrison, Maria Manousakis, Alexandros Markoulis, Alexandros Karanikolas, Yiannis Petris, Andrea Connolly, and Nikola Haras.
Foundation President James Logothetis presented a $15,000 check to the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey for operating expenses and a $15,000 check to support the St. Basil Academy.
His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey thanked Pan Gregorian for the great social and charitable work it has been doing since 1987 and congratulated Consul General Konstantinos Koutras for his efforts to promote and showcase Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, praised the charity work of the Foundation in his message, and congratulated Consul General Koutras for his award.
Pan Gregorian Enterprises President George Siamboulis expressed the joy and pride of all members for the Foundation's 34-year contribution and congratulated the Consul General for his efforts to preserve and promote Hellenism in the United States.
In his acceptance speech, Consul General Koutras warmly thanked the Foundation for the honor and expressed his gratitude to the Greek community for the love and warmth that he has received every day.
“In the two years I have been here, I have met personally with many of you, and those who know me know that I do not like false modesty. However, I must tell you that I feel that this prize does not belong to me. It does not belong to me, first of all, because I share it with the staff of the Consulate General of Greece in New York, with all my associates, who work hard to offer their services, solve problems, and facilitate the life of all members of our great Greek and Greek-American family, but also of all the foreign citizens who contact us about visiting Greece.
“From Consul Zochiou to the last colleague in the hierarchy. I also share this with our colleagues, like Manos Koubarakis, who have moved to other countries where they continue to serve their homeland and its citizens. They embraced me and supported me when we first arrived with my family and opened many roads where we follow today. I share it with my family, my beloved wife Popita Pavli and our beloved son, Dionysios, because both of them, even in the most difficult moments of their lives, even when their own lives were tested, they believed, fought, stood up for me, supported me to continue to strive seamlessly for my duty to the homeland.”
The General Consul of Cyprus in New York, Alexis Phedonos-Vadet, congratulated the Foundation for its assistance to sick, orphaned, and poor children. “Their work is a bright example for us all,” he said.
Hellenic Federation of New Jersey President Dr. Elias Iliadis, called the executives and members of the Pan Gregorian ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus and congratulated the honoree.
Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York President Cleanthis Meimaroglou, in his speech characterized the honoree as a symbol and example in the diplomatic field.
“There are people beyond the borders of our historic homeland who can build bridges where others are tearing them down, people who struggle and fight like Dr. Konstantinos Koutras.”
The event organizer John Sakellaris, thanked everyone for the honor of their presence at the event and especially thanked all the donors and supporters.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that Kalliopi Skevofylax-Panagiotou served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, while Stavros Theodorou and Orchestra provided the live music as the guests danced well into the night.
Photos: TNH/Kostas Bej