ORANGE, CT – Former Connecticut State Representative and Republican Minority Speaker of the House Themis Klarides was honored with the Greek-American community’s inaugural ‘OXI’ Day Award on October 28 in Orange, Connecticut. The event was sponsored by the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut, a collective of Greek-American attorneys committed to the ancient ideals of Hellenism, including democracy and the rule of law, and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the nation’s oldest and pre-eminent Greek-American service organization, committed to the perpetuation of those same Hellenic ideals and culture, as well as philanthropy and community service.
‘OXI’ Day is recognized by Greece and the Greek diaspora, worldwide, in recognition of October 28, 1940, when Greece defied the Axis powers at the onset of World War II and provided heroic resistance, as the first nation to defy and repel the Axis invasion. The word ‘OXI’, the English translation being “No”, was the response of the Greek Prime Minister to the Axis powers’ demand that Greece capitulate to the pending invasion.
Klarides was honored for her distinguished career in public service, including 11 terms as a State Representative, and in particular, her principled leadership on many positions.
The sold out event was held at the Lightle Center Community Room on the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church campus in Orange; the Reverend Peter Orfanakos graced the capacity audience with his opening blessing; Attorney Gregory J. Stamos, President of the Hellenic Bar Association and Past Supreme Counselor of AHEPA, served as the Master of Ceremonies, and Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, District Governor of AHEPA, Yankee District #7, and Attorney Nicholas Paindiris provided remarks about the significance of ‘OXI’ Day to the audience.
Gregory Stamos affirmed that ‘OXI’, the willingness to say ‘No’ to tyranny, and taking an unpopular stance, is the epitome of the democratic principles of the Hellenic lawyers of Connecticut, and AHEPA.
Dr. Hadjimichael edified the audience, many of which were former colleagues in political office with Klarides and not familiar with AHEPA or ‘OXI’ Day, of the history of AHEPA and the significance of OXI Day.
Attorney Paindiris praised Klarides for her distinguished career and leadership, and taking principled positions throughout her public service.
Klarides spoke eloquently of her Hellenic roots, praising the legacies of her grandparents, Greek immigrants, and warmly thanked the members of the Hellenic Bar Association, of which she is an esteemed member, and the Order of AHEPA, for the great honor, and for continuing to be pre-eminent leaders of the Greek community. Her parting words to the audience were: “Always do the right thing.”
The crowd was entertained by Peter Halepos and Company. Stephanie Halepos gave a beautiful performance of the Greek National Anthem. Attendees were served wonderfully catered Greek cuisine by Stacey Ference of Savour Catering and her staff.