A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.
NEW YORK – Three extraordinary human beings – one, Michael Jaharis a pharmaceutical industry pioneer two distinguished physicians, Dr. Jack Soterakis and the late Dr. Antoine C. Harovas, and – were honored at the Annual Scholarship Gala of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel on December 4.
Mary Jaharis received the Distinguished Hellene Award on behalf of her husband Michael Jaharis, Dr. Jack Soterakis received the Distinguished Physician Award, and the revered Dr. Harovas was honored posthumously with the Distinguished Colleague Award.
Archbishop Demetrios offered a touching invocation and Everett O’Hanlon presented thrilling renditions of the Greek and American national anthems.
HMS President Dr. George Liakeas greeted the guests and thanked all who contributed to the success of the auspicious event, including, he said “my darling wife, Nicole.” The community’s other professional organization or their support, and “our honorees, for being who they are.”
The gala chairs, Nicole Contos Liakeas, Susan McCarthy, and Dr. Theo Diktaban, worked closely with the HMS board and is administrator Evangelia Tsavaris – whom Dr. Liakeas called “our fearless leader” to ensure and atmosphere of both dignity and festivity, and to keep the speeches short and sweet.
Among the dignitaries acknowledged by McCarthy from the stage were Greece’s UN Ambassador Catherine Bouras, Greek Consul General Amb. George Iliopoulos and his wife Anthousa, Greek Consul Manos Koubarakis and his wife Georgia, Cypriot Consul General Amb. Vasilios Philippou, and Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fr. Alexander Karloutsos and Presbyter Xanthi Karloutsos.
Archbishop Demetrios, calling God, “the donor of the gift of life to all her tonight and to the whole world,” intoned “ we thank you for this opportunity to be together and to honor exceptional people among us…we thank you for their lives and offerings and we ask you to bless abundantly their families and all the wonderful people present here serving as physicians to your people… and keep us always under your protection in a wounded world in need of your healing and redeeming and saving presence.”
Diktaban presented Harovas’ biography, and said “Tony worked tirelessly during his 46-year professional career, earning the respect of his colleague and earning the admiration of many grateful patients.
He added that Harovas’ “love for medicine was matched by his deep sense of Hellenism” and support for the church. Harovas was an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and “ was the proud recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor…but his greatest pride and joy was his family…he was adored by his wife Debbie, his daughters Amalia and Stephanie and his grandchildren. ”Diktaban concluded by saying “The dignified and exemplary manner in which Tony lived his life on a daily basis will continue to serve as an inspiration to his family and friends,” and invited Harovas’ son-in-law to receive the award.
Nicole Liakeas., who said “I am honored and much pleased” to present the award for Michael Jaharis, pointed out one of the things he could not achieve – perfect anonymity – when she said “who does not know Michael Jaharis.”
She know him as an avuncular figure in her childhood and a dear family friend, while fellow Greeks respect him for his leadership in institution such as the Archdiocesan Council. The Leadership 100 and Faith endowments.
Non-Greeks, she noted, recognize the name from “the beautiful Mary and Michael Jaharis galleries of Greek and Roman and Byzantine art at the Metropolitan museum of Art, and at Art Institute of Chicago,” endowed scholarship and professorships they established, and the medical research they support.
Soterakis was introduced by Diktaban. The former’s contribution to medicine include writing articles, abstracts and chapters of textbooks in gastroenterology and liver disease. Reflecting his Hellenic passion, he was honored for his devotion to his heritage and Hellenic culture by the Chancellor of the City University of New York.
“I am humbled to accept this honor” Soterakis, said, but he immediately praised HMS and its mission of “education, research, philanthropy, as well as support for the Greek-American community.”
He shared how thrilled he was by the prior night’s scholarship presentation event.
Soterakis expressed his appreciation for his family, colleagues and friends, and especially his dep appreciation for his parents, whose roots are from the island of Kastellorizo, Greece’s easternmost island, also known as Megiste, for instilling in him his work ethic and love of education.
Dr. Soterakis told TNH “I am humbled and honored that my peers have recognized my contributions as a physician, and the care that I have given to patients, as a participant in HMS and its mission to foster education and scholarship, as well as philanthropy and the Omogenia.”
Executive Director of the Leadership 100 Paulette Poulos, who has worked closely through the years with Harovas and Jaharis, spoke to the spirit and achievements of both. “As I walked in tonight I immediately thought of Tony Harovas because we used to always do all the Greek dances, and where I heard the music I immediately went to him. He was a beautiful soul. In all my years at the Archdiocese he never took money from anyone” when he gave employees medical care. “Whenever you needed him for something, he was always there,” she said, adding that when she now sees the well-organized altar boys at Holy Trinity Cathedral, she knows the legacy of children he recruited and trained.
Poulos called Michael and Mary Jaharis “friends that I love and respect” and noted, as all their friends know “they are not the kind of people who look for recognition or accolades. They just give with their heart and soul and the only one who knows is the Lord.” Noting that Mary Jaharis was at the gala to receive the award because “Michael is going through a very difficult time” with his health “I admire Mary because she was always the silent partner standing by his side and tonight she came to pay tribute to him in her own way and I pray for the Lord to give her strength.”
The Something Special Orchestra entertained guests during the cocktail reception in the renowned hotel’s Grand Ballroom.
A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.
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