Viewpoint: 25th Anniversary of the Hellenic News of America
By Catherine Tsounis
Our main goal is to attract 2nd and 3rd generations of Greek Americans,” said Paul Kotrotsios, Hellenic News of America publisher and Hermes Expo International. He accomplished is goal at the Oct. 14th Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration of the Hellenic News of America (HNA) newspaper. The event was held at the Concordville Inn-Best Western Hotel & Conference Center in Concordville, Pennsylvania. A packed audience attended from states on the northeastern seaboard. I mingled with families whose grandparents and parents immigrated to America 100 years ago. Mr. Kotrotsios and his team of workers are exciting an interest in mainstream America.
Dr. Dean C. Lomis brought two tables of family and friends from Delaware, Maryland and Tennessee to support the Hellenic News mission: the use of social media and new technologies to attract new friends, new philhellenes and new Greek-Americans to raise the Greek flag higher. The image of Greece is very negative in the world press. Prior to Greece’s “Ohi” to the Axis Powers, making her the only country to fight for Democracy, Greek-Americans were looked down as second class citizens. Greece’s heroism elevated Greek Americans to the world, in addition to Aristotle Onassis’ marriage to Jackie Kennedy. Paul Kotrotsios is succeeding in raising Greece high in the consciousness of America by bring back the 2nd and 3rd generation Americans.
At his event, I actually saw my late Father’s cousin, Elaine Papantinas, from the island of Mosconisi (renamed Alibey Aidasi). I have not seen her since the late 1960’s. She came to Paul Kotrotsios’ 25th Anniversary with her friends. I actually found out history about my Father’s mentor, John Alikaris, Elaine’s father. She told me my grandmother, Catherine, who died at 46 years old, had red hair and was called kokinomalousa (red haired). Mr. Kotrotsios is igniting an interest in one’s past in the America of the 1930’s-40’s.
The administrative work at the entrance of the event was in the hands of Linda Kotrotsios, assisted by an outstanding Social Scientist, Alkistis Von Gizycki. “Paul Kotrotsios is commended for being President and Founder of the Hellenic News of America and Hermes Expo International,” said Ms. Alkistis. “He is coordinating and holding the cohesion of Hellenism in America. He is a businessman, inspiration force and a family man.” Ms. Alkistis smile welcomed all at the entrance. Senator Leonidas “Lou” Raptakis came special from Rhode Island to network with all. Mr. Theodore Spyropoulos sent his daughter, Mariyana, for this event while he was in Greece. Assemblymember Aravella Simotas added special warmth as emcee. I enjoyed hearing her tell us that she was Miss AHEPA.
Mr. John Fotiou of the Rhodian Society of Baltimore showed interest in Georgia Filiotis work at the Hellenic Relief Foundation (https://www.hellenicrelief.org/en/). Mrs. Stella Kokolis, President is president of the Federation of Hellenic American Teachers and the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE)’s Education Committee for the US region and Ms. Vassiliki Filiotis of President of the Prometheus Greek Teachers Association mobilized educators and friends to make a strong presentation from New York City. The Pan Macedonian Society came to show their appreciation for HNA’s support that “Macedonia is Greek”. Dimitri G. Soultogiannis, representing the Youth Connection wrote an outstanding article on the 25th Anniversary at https://hellenicnews.com/index.php/component/content/article/37-important-news/137-hna-1987-2012-a-great-celebration-for-the-25-years-.
Basil Savopoulos, whose Mother was a teacher in 1903 Smyrna, Asia Minor and Father attended Law School in Athens in 1898, came to show his support of Hellenism. His work through the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC) in Washington helped mobilize the Greek vote in Delaware with Dr. Dean Lomis and associates.
I was amazed to meet persons, whose families were in the U.S. for over 100 years, holding on to Hellenism. Paul Kotrotsios work is one of the factors. “Through the Hermes Expo International, we want to continue building networks for our youth.” Middle America is helping the Hellenic News of America to achieve its goal.
Photo 1: Paul Kotrotsios, Founder & Publisher of the Hellenic News of America
Photo 2: Nick Larigakis, Dean Lomis (Honoree), Dr. Spiros Spireas, Aravella Simotas, Paul Kotrotsios
Photo 3: John Fotiou & Georgia Filiotis
Photo 4: Hermes Young Professionals Initiative Members