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General News

Greek Commander John Pappas Bids the NYPD Farewell with a Zeibekiko (Vid & Pics)

NEW YORK – With a Zeibekiko, the dance of Zorba, and island dances, Commander John Pappas bid farewell to the NYPD Transit Bureau K-9 Unit, retiring after 29 years of service.

And with words and acts Pappas’ dear colleagues acknowledged his long-time service and contributions to the NYPD.

At the farewell ceremony, which took place with great formality on Wednesday morning, November 29 at the Department’s facilities at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 33rd Street in Long Island City, a crowd of colleagues and friends rushed to shake hands with the departing Commander and wish him their best.

As early as 11 AM, Greek music was playing in the surrounding area, honoring Pappas’ Greek heritage. Inside, NYPD personnel and visitors had the opportunity to enjoy selected Greek dishes and visit him in his office before the ceremony began, organized by the NYPD and led by Sergeant Jack Conway, who welcomed the audience and spoke warmly about Pappas’ contribution to the force.

Police chaplain Father George Anastasiou, who shares a close friendship with Pappas, recalled the way he approached him when he first joined the NYPD. “When I joined the Police, the first person I came into contact with was Yiannis. He then said something that I always remember: ‘Thank you for coming to work today.’ We thank all of you who come to work and constitute this force,” said Father George.

Departing NYPD Transit Bureau K-9 unit Commander Ioannis Pappas and his wife Despina. Photo: TNH/Ch. Athanasatos

Among others, Deputy Inspector Raymond Porteus, Deputy Inspector Jonathan Bobin, and retired Department Commander Joseph Fox highlighted Ioannis Pappas’ contributions to the establishment and development of the NYPD Transit Bureau K-9 Unit.

Taking the floor, Pappas expressed his gratitude to his colleagues and superiors at the NYPD and then said, “I am the child of immigrants. My parents worked hard, like many other immigrants. I am married to an immigrant. Also, I am very proud that my parents chose the USA. Sometimes we forget the importance of our country. I am grateful for everything. I love my people, I love my unit, I love my family.”


Ceremony bidding farewell to John Pappas. Photo: TNH/Ch. Athanasatos

Then, before the official ‘walkout’, the Greek-American officer requested to dance a Zeibekiko, choosing the song ‘I am Greek’ by Notis Sfakianakis. Later, he was joined by his two daughters and his wife, honoring her Chiot heritage, with an island dance. Finally, with police officers and K-9 dogs lined up, he made the honorary exit together with police dog Palla, who is also retiring, amid the music of ‘Zorba’, thus concluding a career of almost 30 years.

With an island dance, departing NYPD Transit Bureau K-9 unit Commander Ioannis Pappas and his wife Despina concluded the emotional farewell ceremony. Photo: TNH/Ch. Athanasatos
Ceremony bidding farewell to John Pappas. Photo: TNH/Ch. Athanasatos

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