WASHINGTON, DC – World War II Veteran Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas (U.S. Army, ret.) is the most-decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division and on February 1 the Order of AHEPA, in cooperation with U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues; and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), hosted a congressional reception for him on Capitol Hill.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) joined nearly 20 members of Congress for the reception in appreciation for Megellas, who originally hails from Fond du Lac, WI.
The reception, attended by more than 75 people, featured remarks from Bilirakis and Maloney as well as AHEPA Supreme President John Galanis and Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Christos Panagopoulos.
The event is part of an effort, backed by AHEPA and including legislation, to authorize the president to award the Medal of Honor to Megellas for acts of valor during the Battle of the Bulge.
Currently, Reps. Sessions, Bilirakis, and Maloney are circulating a letter that calls for Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy to grant his urgent consideration and personal review of Lt. Col. Megellas’ Medal of Honor case.
AHEPA is urging members of the community to contact their representatives and senators and ask them signing on to the Sessions-Bilirakis-Maloney letter to Acting Secretary Murphy.
The Medal of Honor is the United States of America’s highest military honor, “awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.” It is awarded by the President in the name of the U.S. Congress to U.S. military personnel only.
Megellas, an AHEPA Life Member, is the recipient of the: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, Belgian Fourragere, and Dutch Orange Lanyard; and in 2008, the German government honored him for his role in liberating the Wobbelin Concentration Camp, May 2, 1945.
“We sincerely appreciate the hard work of Representatives Bilirakis, Maloney, and Sessions, and their staffs, who helped to make tonight’s event a wonderful experience for everyone,” Galanis said. “We also thank all the members of Congress who took time out of their busy schedules to meet Maggie. We pledge to continue our efforts, working with our allies on Capitol Hill, to ensure Maggie’s case for the Medal of Honor is granted review and reconsideration because he most deserves the honor.”