CHICAGO, IL – The Pan-Laconian Progressive Brotherhood of Chicago celebrated their annual Apokriatiko Family Glendi over the weekend at the Fountain Blue Banquets with close to 150 guests present.
During the evening, the organization awarded university students Peter Balabanos and Christos Kapsalis each with a $1,000 academic merit scholarship. Both students currently attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but were unable to accept the awards in person.
Steve Kapsalis, a longtime member of the Pan-Laconia Brotherhood, accepted the award on his son’s behalf.
“I would like to thank the foundation for honoring my son with the scholarship,” he said.
Chris Balabanos, who also accepted the award on his son’s behalf, expressed gratitude for receiving the scholarship and emphasized the organization’s continuous activities and support of the Laconian Diaspora community in Chicago.
“The society here is not just for fundraising, but it’s for family and the betterment of our community through education and other programs,” Balabanos said. “We are very excited for Peter and we think it’s a great event,” he added.
The organization also awarded a Certificate of Appreciation to organization member Peter G. Lekkas, and named Patricia Gerbanas and Constantine N. Bacil Pan-Laconian of the Year recipients.
“The Pan-Laconian Progressive Brotherhood is an organization that likes to maintain its traditions and family ties,” said Louis G. Atsaves, president of the Pan-Laconian Progressive Brotherhood. “It is a social, philanthropic, and educational organization, which aims to bring Laconians together and support our communities here in Chicago.”
During the awards ceremony, Atsaves also announced that last year the organization helped raise $250,000, along with the national Pan-Laconian Federation, to benefit the establishment of a Hellenic museum at the University of Connecticut. The museum will operate under the auspices of the Hellenic Paideia and will house a gallery collection of Greek artwork and antiques donated by Mr. Nicholas Leounes.
“We are happy to have received generous donations for this project and we are working toward making it happen,” Atsaves said.
Among other philanthropic activities, the organization has also partnered with local AHEPA district chapter 94 for the annual Feed the Hungry Initiative at Annunciation Cathedral in Chicago, and has worked with various Diaspora associations in the city.
This past summer, the organization helped host the 66th annual Pan-Laconian Federation Convention in Chicago, bringing together over 60 chapter delegates from the U.S. and Canada.
Founded in 1906, the Pan-Laconian Progressive Brotherhood is one of the oldest continuously running diaspora societies in Chicago, and currently has close to 300 members from across the metropolitan area.