Deptford, NJ – Burlotos and Ahtaridis, two giants of the Greek community stood together for a photo op on Saturday evening when a smile overcame them. It could have been a show of respect, but I’d like to think it was probably more. The pair were part of the Golden age of Hellenism in Philadelphia. From the 1950’s through the 1980’s, it was a time of prosperity and growth for the community, and these two Georges played pivotal roles in the making of the Greeks community. Now, half a century later, they were being honored, together for their dedication to shaping the Philadelphia Greek community.
Although George Burlotos was born in the States (1923), he spent much of his childhood and teenage years living in Greece, where his counterpart George Ahtaridis was born and raised. Together, they worked as members of many organizations in the area, including the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley, who was honoring them this evening. Burlotos, a WWII veteran, is also an AHEPA, Kali Parea and member of the VFW Post 6633. But he is best known for his television program, the Greek Spirit. Dr. George Ahtaridis was President of the Pan Macedonian Association, the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia, a founding member and President of the Hellenic Medical Societies of Philadelphia.
The pair spent many years working to build the community through the organizations and media. They both recently retired. George Ahtaridis stopped practicing medicine in 2016 and divides his time between suburban Philadelphia and Florida. While George Burlotos’ program the Greek Spirit went off the air when his station host WYBE ceased operations. George retired in November of 2017.
On Saturday night, the Greek-American community of Philadelphia came out to celebrate these two individuals that gave so much and helped build the Greek community. Dr. George Ahtaridis was given the honor of marching as the Grand Marshall for this Sunday’s Greek Independence Day Parade. George Burlotos, who was awarded the Eleftheria medal, for his lifetime of contribution to the preservation of Hellenism will walk beside him.
The parade is scheduled to start at 1:30 pm on March 25th, 2018. For more information visit the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley website.