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Politics

The Chian Federation to Honor Sen. Robert Menendez with 3rd Ionian Medal of Honor

March 30, 2023

ASTORIA – The Chian Federation Board of Directors and the Ionian Medal of Honor Committee held a press conference on March 28 concerning the 3rd Ionian Medal of Honor Ceremony, honoring Senator Robert Menendez, on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 6:30 PM.

The press conference took place at the Chian Federation’s Hellenic-American Cultural Center. Chian Federation President John Kontolios, also a member of the Ionian Medal of Honor event planning committee, gave the welcoming remarks at the press conference, thanking everyone for attending, and noting that the Ionian Medal of Honor will be presented to Philhellene Senator Robert Menendez in recognition of his many years of service to our nation and for the promotion of Greek-American relations. He added that only two other worthy individuals have previously received the Ionian Medal of Honor, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and George P. Livanos, Founder of the Chian Federation.

The Ionian Medal of Honor is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their fields and who showcase exceptional leadership in the fields of public service and social progress.

“It is not an award that is frequently given, and the honoree is always a person who has truly contributed to Greece and to the U.S. and helps in many issues for the support of Greece in the international community,” said President Kontolios. “It’s an honor for us to bestow the medal on someone like Sen. Menendez and he immediately accepted when we informed him that we wanted to honor him, and about a month ago we began the process of organizing the event.”

Anna Condoulis, Chian Federation Chair of the Education and Scholarship Committee, and Co-Chair of the Ionian Medal of Honor event planning committee, noted that the Ionian Medal “recognizes those who have distinguished themselves and who personify and perpetuate Hellenic ideals in our time.”

“It’s called the Ionian Medal because it was in Ionian times when democracy came about… there were seven Ionian cities and Chios was one of them,” Condoulis said. “Sen. Menendez is a great Philhellene, we read about him all the time and this medal is to show our appreciation for everything he does for our community both as Americans and as Greeks.”

“The event is going to be held here in our hall, we’re expecting, hopefully, between 200 and 300 people… we expect it to be a spectacular event, we’re doing everything we can to make it an elegant event, befitting of our honoree. We have some of our committee members here, we’re working hard, we will have a journal commemorating the occasion, and we have been spreading the word and have been getting amazing feedback so far.”

Dr. John Caminis, member of Chian Federation and member of the event planning committee, noted the proximity of Chios to Turkey, and how vital Sen. Menendez efforts have been in helping the situation with regard to U.S. foreign policy and as the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “he shows he is not just supporting Greece… but that he supports what is right, and for this reason, he is worthy of the honor and deserves even more recognition for his efforts.”

Condoulis pointed out that they are preparing to send out invitations and are inviting all Greek-Americans to participate. “From Thrace to Crete and Cyprus,” Kontolios added.

In addition to Kontolios, Condoulis and Dr. Caminis, the following members of the Ionian Medal of Honor event planning committee were also present and shared their remarks on the event and the honoree: Chian Federation Treasurer Nick Poulis, St. George Sikousis Syllogo President Vasilia Mereos, Chian Federation Senior Vice President George Pantelaros Esq., and Chian Federation Chair of the Building Committee Kyriaki Kalogera. Markos Marinakis is also Co-Chair of the Ionian Medal of Honor event planning committee but was not present for the press conference.

The committee members opened the floor to questions from the members of the media in attendance and all looked forward to a successful event in honor of Sen. Menendez.

More information about the Chian Federation is available online: http://www.chianfederation.org/.

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