By: Lili Bita, Cultural Affairs Correspondent
My dear friends and readers, greetings! Today I write to mark the celebration of the twenty-ninth anniversary of the Hellenic News of America, and the importance it has had in our lives as Greeks and Greek Americans. I take pride in having been a collaborator in this great venture from the beginning, and to having witnessed it from its very first steps to the major 64-page publication it is today, expertly designed and lavishly illustrated in color, and containing all news of interest to the Greek community from the local to the global. Congratulations are again due to its founder and publisher, Pavlos Kotrotsios, as well as co-publisher Aphrodite Kotrotsios, who carries on the family tradition with intelligence, beauty, and charm.
The celebration took place on October 30 at the elegant Concordville Inn, suitably decorated with flowers and set off by lighting to produce a warm atmosphere. I arrived with Aphrodite Kotrotsios at half past four, and the doors opened shortly later. The guests entered, festively attired and with much Greek beauty on display, greeting and embracing one another. Pavlos was there in the foyer to welcome each arrival with his own lovely muse and helpmeet, Linda. I recognized many of my own former students. Waiters dressed in formal black and with white gloves passed around sumptuous trays of hors d’oeuvres and served drinks in crystal glasses.
The main events began at six o’clock, with the large hall of the Inn filled to capacity. Entertainment was provided by Stavros Theodorou, Yorgos Rabos and his orchestra, and featuring clarinetist Georgos Bezanis. Dinner included delicious fillet mignon with Greek salad, topped off by wine and cake. Pavlos Kotrotsios spoke to the audience about the many contributions to ease the current plight of Greece by philanthropic donors. Outstanding members of our community, both here and in Greece, were then honored for their work and service to the cause of Hellenism. These included Dr. Stefanos Foussas, President of the Hellenic Cardiological Society; Dr. George Patoulis, President of the Medical Association of Athens and Mayor of Amaroussion; Dr. Konstandinos Plestis, System Chief of cardiothoracic Surgery at the Lankenau Heart Institute; Dr. Peter Patukas, Community Leader; Peter and Despina Pagonis, community leaders and charter supporter; and Eleni Poulos, travel agent and tourism promoter. Each received sustained rounds of applause. Dancing followed, as the musicians stirred the blood and put feathers in our feet. I felt the pride and satisfaction of belonging to our Greek community and being a part of its many and rewarding activities.
Next year, it will be on the gala thirtieth-anniversary celebration, and the many more years to come. Zito!