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Events

Dodecanesian Federation, Youth Society Raise $20K+ for Young Man Hurt in Car Crash

ASTORIA – The Federation of Dodecanese Societies of America and Canada and the Dodecanesian Youth Society held a ‘Greek Night’ fundraising event on May 18 at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria and raised over $20,000 to help a young man recovering from a serious car accident that left him with severe injuries. All the proceeds from the event are going to support the 21-year-old Emmanuel Papachristodoulou of Rhodes who is continuing treatment for injuries he suffered in 2022.

Very Rev. Archimandrite Ierotheos Markopoulos, the presiding priest of Saints Anargyroi in Washington Heights, NY, was among those present and gave the opening prayer at the event. In his remarks, he noted how he rejoices when he hears about young people from the community participating in the various associations and societies, working together for such a good cause. Fr. Ierotheos pointed out that “we have gathered tonight for a holy cause, not just to eat, drink, and be merry, but to help a young man from Rhodes struggling with his health.”

V. Rev. Archimandrite Ierotheos Markopoulos presented two checks from the Philoptochos and from the community of Saints Anargyroi towards the fundraising effort. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

He added that health is above all, the most important thing, and in his village in Messinia there is a saying “my health, my riches.” Fr. Ierotheos, who has been at Sts. Anargyroi for 36 years, urged everyone to pray to the Saints Cosmas and Damianos, the Anargyroi, who were physicians and healed many before their martyrdom, to bring health to the young man. He also conveyed the blessings and best wishes of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros for health to come to the young man from above and from the glory of God. Fr. Ierotheos then presented two checks, from the Philoptochos and from the community of Sts. Anargyroi, totaling $1,000 towards the fundraising effort, and looked forward to hearing the best news about the young man’s health.

Manolis Mantalis, one of the organizers of the event, thanked Fr. Ierotheos and all those present for attending and for contributing to the effort though their donations and support, noting that his cousin, Fay Bardou, was the one who came up with the idea for the fundraiser. Mantalis mentioned that he is from the village of Koskinou in Rhodes, as is Demetri Papachristodoulou, the father of Emmanuel, the young man who suffered the terrible accident, and the young man could be our own son, brother, nephew, cousin or friend. He had been in the passenger seat when the accident happened and while the driver suffered only minor injuries, Papachristodoulou suffered head injuries and needed three hours of surgery to save his life. Months in the hospital followed first in Rhodes and then in Athens, and since January of 2024 in Tripoli where his treatment, including physical therapy and speech therapy, continues. The private clinic in Tripoli is the only one offering the type of treatment needed and the young man’s family is struggling to pay the 5,500 euro a month and fundraising efforts began in Rhodes and the surrounding islands to help. When people ask why the government is not paying for his care since the young man was a soldier at the time, Mantalis explained that although the accident happened while Papachristodoulou was doing his mandatory military service, because the accident was not in the course of his duties or on a military base, they are not responsible for the cost.

A short video was screened from Papachristodoulou’ parents with his father thanking everyone in the U.S. for their support.

Bardou then thanked everyone for participating in the fundraiser and the Federation for helping organize the event.

The Federation of Dodecanese Societies of America and Canada and the Dodecanesian Youth Society held a ‘Greek Night’ fundraising event on May 18 at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Dodecanesian Youth President Vasilis Michaelides also expressed his thanks to all those present and to the supporters and donors, including Loumidis Foods, Kalymnos Society for the drinks, Pita Station, Lefko Pyrgo, the Symi Society, Leros Society, George Marangos for the beer, Lemonitissa Crafts, Gregory’s Tavern, Buccaneer, Haravgi, SVL Bar, King Souvlaki, Niko’s Souvlaki, Sotiria and Irene Zouroudis, Bareburger, and many others as well as Adamantia Mari and all those working in the kitchen, the DJ Paul Katsaros and the band, Ta Pedia Tis Polis. Michaelidis noted that this was his first event as President and that they are trying their best to bring more young people into the Society. “If we all work together as a group, we can accomplish even better things,” he said and thanked everyone once again for their support.

Dodecanesian Federation President Maria Marangos offered her greetings as well, pointing out that everyone should participate in these types of efforts and we must all do our best for the children. She thanked all the volunteers, noting that we all wish the best for the young man and every family faces challenges that must be faced with love, understanding, and contributions which are in the DNA of the Dodecanesians.

The Dodecanesian Youth dance group performed at the event on May 18 at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Following the buffet dinner, live music, dancing, and the raffle drawing with cash prizes that the winners donated back to the effort and various gifts such as gift certificates, handbags, and an iPad, the announcement was made of the total amount raised: $21,767.

Mantalis thanked everyone again and said that the amount was well beyond the $10,000 they had expected to raise to cover about two months of the expenses, “this actually covers four months, it’s just overwhelming.” He added that there are more donations still coming in to be added to the total.

The band Ta Pedia Tis Polis- Dimitris Behrakis- voice, George Vardaros- violin, Eleni Moniodi- voice, Andreas Goustas – lyra, and Tommy Kavounidis – laouto, performed live throughout the evening.

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