The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Somerville, Massachusetts, announced the creation of a charitable fund in memory of George Dilboy, the town’s late hometown hero who became the first Greek American to receive the Medal of Honor after dying in the line of duty during World War I.
The church established the George A. Dilboy Endowment fund to honor what would have been the fallen soldier’s 125th birthday on February 5, 2021.
The Formation community is seeking an initial $250,000 investment to launch the fund, which will support the construction of the George A. Dilboy Community Center; an annual scholarship for a Somerville High School graduating senior and an annual Dilboy Medal of Honor awards ceremony recognizing Greek Americans who have made “extraordinary charitable and philanthropic contributions” to humanity.
“George Dilboy is a beloved son of both Somerville and the Greek community,” Dormition Parish Council President Diane Karavitis said. “Dormition Church sees the opportunity to celebrate Dilboy’s memory in a way that is prestigious and everlasting, and also to educate the public about the selfless contributions of one of the greatest Greek American war heroes to his native and adopted countries.”
George Dilboy (Giorgos Dilbois) was born on February 5, 1896 in the Greek town of Alatsata near Smyrna in Asia Minor, or modern day Turkey.
Dilboy’s family emigrated to the United States when he was a boy and settled in Somerville. In 1912, at the age of 16, he volunteered to fight for Greece in the Balkan Wars, returning to Somerville in 1913.
In 1916, Dilboy enlisted in the United States Army in the Mexican Border War, and he received an honorable discharge in 1917. Shortly thereafter, he re joined the U.S. Army to fight in France during World War I, and on July 18, 1918, he sacrificed his life as part of the Second Battle of the Marne.
Dilboy became the first Greek American to be recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor, receiving it posthumously for “gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.” He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, established in 1916, has spanned four generations of Greek Americans and Orthodox Christians. For more information about the church and how to support the George A. Dilboy Endowment Fund, visit the Dormition website.
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