By Stavroula Kotrotsios, Esq.
Photo Caption: The Honoree Dr. Spiro Spireas receiving the FREEDOM AWARD by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos (L-R) Sotiris Maniatis, Past President, George G. Horiates, Past President , Nikolaos Spiliotis, Vice President and Chairman of the 2015 Parade, the Honoree Dr. Spiros Spireas, His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, (Pete Papadeas, Past President), Stathis Karantonis, President and Paul Kotrotsios, Past President of the Federation.
Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, March 21, 2015, The Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia awarded Dr. Spiro Spireas with the “Eleftheria Medal”. The Eleftheria Medal symbolizes freedom, as an ideology and way of life, as well as the freedom of Greek nation from the Ottoman Empire after 400 years of slavery. Dr. Spireas is the CEO of Sigmapharm Laboratories in Bensalem, PA. He is a pillar of Hellenism in our community, and he participates in many initiatives that foster community organization and promotion of Hellenism in America. He is also the President of the AHI Foundation, served as President of the Parish Council of St. George in Trenton, Member of the Metropolitan Council of Metropolis of NJ, and an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle by His All Holiness.
In his message to the community and the Federation, Dr. Spireas shared the following, “Πατρίς, Θρησκεία, Οικογένεια,” these three create the social fabric for the life of a Greek, wherever he goes. We care about our heritage, our country, our religion, our love for God, and our families. We grow our families to follow in our steps, and that’s why the Greek spirit is never lost. The minute we lose one of these, we will lose our identity and this cannot happen because” Η Ελλάδα ποτέ δεν πεθαίνει,” (Greece will never die).
Dr. Spireas read a poem by Ioannis Polemis from which he described the hardships and faith of the Greek people during Ottoman rule. The hardships remain today, as Greece faces many national issues and an economic crisis. Dr. Spireas encouraged the audience that we must stay united and help Greece and the legacy that we build here for our community in America. He expressed the importance of cooperation, explaining that when we are determined and united, we can make miracles happen. He urged that the Greek Americans must live up to our ancestors and ask ourselves, ”is what I’m doing enough? What more can I do to give back and leave a legacy behind, especially for my children.” Dr. Spireas made it a point that we need to support Greece and stay positive despite the trying times of economic turmoil. Dr. Spireas also thanked his wife, Dr. Amalia Spireas, for her support and guidance throughout their life, emphasizing again the importance of family in the Greek tradition.
Dr. Spireas closed with a few lyrics from a beautiful song written by Mikis Theodorakis:
“Τη ρωμιοσύνη μην την κλαις
εκεί που πάει να σκύψει
με το σουγιά στο κόκκαλο
με το λουρί στο σβέρκο
Νάτη πετιέται απο ‘ξαρχής
κι αντριεύει και θεριεύει
και καμακώνει το θεριό
με το καμάκι του ήλιου”
His Eminence, the Metropolitan Evangelos blessed the event and the honorees of the night. As the spiritual leader of our Church, Metropolitan Evangelos embodies the significance of this dual holiday for Hellenes and Orthodoxy. The Kousoulis family was also honored in memory of their daughter Danielle Kousoulis, who was a 29 year old victim of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center. The family was inducted to the Federation as distinguished members. George G. Horiates introduced the Kousoulis family describing the loss of their daughter, who was as a young and successful Greek American woman. George Kousoulis, Danielle’s brother, thanked Mr. George G. Horiates for his kind words and announced to the audience, in memory of his sister, that “Greeks don’t fight like heroes, but heroes fight like Greeks“, the famous words of Winston Churchill.
Ζήτω η 25η Μαρτίου, 1821
Long Live Greece
Ζήτω η Ελλάδα
Ζήτω η Αμερική
Photo: The Honoree Dr. Spiro Spireas receiving the FREEDOM AWARD by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos (L-R) Sotiris Maniatis, Past President, George G. Horiates, Past President , Nikolaos Spiliotis, Vice President and Chairman of the 2015 Parade, the Honoree Dr. Spireas, His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos, (Pete Papadeas, Past President), Stathis Karantonis, President and Paul Kotrotsios, Past President of the Federation.