Wilmington, DE – The American Hellenic Institute recognized three members of the Philadelphia metropolitan community on Saturday night. The Hellenic Heritage Public Service Awards were given to Georgia Halakos, John Vasiliou and the Odyssey Charter School of Wilmington Delaware for their outstanding contributions to the Greek American community.

The evening was a preview celebration of the 16th Annual Future of Hellenism In America Conference that launched on Saturday morning with a series of speakers. The annual event is hosted by AHI and takes place around the country where Greek Americans are acknowledged for their dedication to Hellenism.

The event opened with Master of Ceremonies George Rassias, Esq. It was followed by an opening prayer by Reverend Christos Christofidis of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Nick Larigakis, president of the American Hellenic Institute, kicked off the evening and introduced Nick Chimcles, conference chairman.

Congresswoman Lisa blunt Rochester addressed the crowd of Greek Americans from around the Delaware Valley and shared a personal story of family inspiration. Her speech was followed by dinner and the presentations to the recipients. Each one of them spoke about the importance of Hellenism in their lives and the continued passion it evokes.

The keynote speech was given by Ambassador of Greece to the United States Haris Lalacos. Lalacos spoke of Greece’s needs and the Diaspora communities around.