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Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 Celebrates 5th Anniversary and Initiates 5 Members

PORT JEFFERSON, NY – Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319, on Long Island, NY, on December 10 celebrated its 5th Anniversary as a new chapter, having been reactivated on June 4, 2017.

A dinner banquet was held at Limani Grille in Commack, NY, with 40 guests attending. Among them, AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas congratulated the chapter on its anniversary, referring to the “twin pillars of Hellenism,” one being the Greek Orthodox Church and the other the Order of AHEPA.

As part of the celebration, Gus Kapassakis, a long-standing member with over 40 years of service, was surprised by Fr. Demetrios Calogredes with a plaque and a commemorative 40-year lapel pin. Supreme President Kokotas also presented him with a pin for the 100th Anniversary of AHEPA. Kapassakis made a very moving speech at the event, going back to his childhood in Crete, Greece, remembering the many hardships he and his family endured before immigrating to the United States. One of his seven sisters took the floor to thank Kapassakis for his determination and support during those hard times, recounting the fact that Gus, only 12 years old at the time, would go up into the mountains to set traps for birds and rabbits, bringing his catch back home to feed the family.

Left to right: Danielle Calogredes, Nicholas Calogredes, Candiano Rienzie, George Kallas, Rev. Fr. Lou Nicholas, Rev. Fr. Demetrios Calogredes, and Deenah Speiser. (Photo: John Damaskos)
Front row (left to right): John Damaskos, Alex Vogiatzis, Demetrius Moutsiakis, Vice President George Kallas, AHEPA District 6 Lt. Governor Chris Pappis, District 6 Governor Dean Moskos, Region 3 Supreme Governor Ted Stamas, Rev. Fr. Demetrios Calogredes, and Louis Tsunis. Back row: Paul Zaferiou, Silvio Capoccia, Mike Capous, Gregory Tsougranis, Yiannis Kaltsas, Spiros Mountzouros, Eleftherios (Apollon) Zoumpanidopoulos, Ray Iasilli, Howard Frampton, Rev. Fr. Lou Nicholas, Salvatore Del Gigante, John Tsunis, George Pappis, Pelops Damianos, Saranto Calamas, and Nicholas Calogredes. (Photo: John Damaskos)

Kapassakis also shared the fact when he and his family arrived in the United States in the 1950’s, they had no money, and that the Cretan Brotherhood Omonoia presented him and his family with a house and several acres of land in Florida. George Kallas, Vice President of AHEPA 319, took the opportunity to share a ‘mantinatha’ (Cretan style poem) written by his late father, Anthony Tzitzikalakis:

Καλά ναι να’σαι Αμερικανός

Ελληνας να’σαι θαύμα ,

Μά να’σαι όμως Κρητικός

Είναι μεγάλο πράγμα.

(‘It’s good to be an American, to be a Greek a miracle, but to be Cretan is a great thing’- TNH translation.)

Also on December 10, Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 hosted a new member initiation ceremony, bringing in five new members, Pelops Damianos, Howard Frampton, Eleftherios (Apollon) Zoumpanidopoulos, Salvatore Del Gigante, and Spiros Mountzouros.

As has been the custom now for over five years, the AHEPA chapter hosted the ceremony at the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook Long Island, which is owned and operated by the longstanding chapter member John Tsunis, Esq.

AHEPA members at the Initiation Ceremony in Port Jefferson, NY on December 10 with Albany Chapter 140 Past President George Pappis, at left, serving as Captain of the Guard. (Photo: Courtesy of AHEPA)

Over 25 people were present at the ceremony, mostly members of Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319, but also participating and adding to the inspiring and motivating ceremony were the following dignitaries: Region 3 Supreme Governor Ted Stamas, District 6 Governor Dean Moskos, and Lt. Governor Chris Pappis. Guests from other AHEPA chapters included Bronx Chapter 175 President Yiannis Kaltsas and Secretary Gregory Tsougranis, as well as Silvio Capoccia from Babylon Chapter 416.

Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 Vice President George Kallas, who also leads the new membership committee for the Chapter, congratulated the five new members, now bringing the total in Port Jefferson to 42. Chapter President Nicholas Calogredes declared: “Our goal for 2023 is to continue increasing our members’ participation and to expand our Chapter with more members so that we can do more to pursue AHEPA’s mission of philanthropy, education, and promoting and preserving the Hellenic identity of Greek-Americans.”

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