AHEPA family members and friends gathered to honor excellence in public service and the community as the 40th Congressional Banquet returned to Washington, May 22, 2013. The gala was held at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. The honorees were:
· U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), 2013 AHEPA Pericles Award for excellence in public service (presented by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis);
· Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, former president, 2004 Athens Olympic Organizing Committee; Daughters of Penelope Civic Responsibility Award (presented by Daughters of Penelope Grand President Joanne Saltas);
· Mr. Andrew Manatos, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce and founder, Manatos & Manatos; Outstanding Public Advocacy Award (presented by AHEPA Chairman of the Board Nicholas Karacostas);
· Col. Steve Pisanos (ret.), World War II Flying Ace, AHEPA Medal of Freedom (presented by Col. Nick Vamvakias (ret.) and Congressman Bilirakis, member, Veterans Affairs Committee); and
· Rev. Father Alex Karloutsos, AHEPA Excellence in Leadership Award (presented by Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides).
In addition, special presentations were made to each AHEPA chapter that organized volunteers to help victims of Superstorm Sandy through the coordination of securing emergency supplies, assistance with light demolition work and clean-up, and raising of financial assistance for relief via gift cards.
FOX News Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel served as the banquet program’s the master of ceremonies.
In acceptance remarks, the honorees reflected upon the importance of public service, community service, and participation in the civic or advocacy process, and they expressed gratitude toward AHEPA for promoting these principles. In addition, they stressed the importance of striving to preserve Hellenism.
Several dignitaries attended the banquet, including several members of Congress. Among the dignitaries were: Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Christos Panagopoulos, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chair, Committee on Foreign Affairs; U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), ranking member, Committee on the Budget; U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).