Last week, the Greek America Foundation hosted the Blue Tie Ball— an annual fundraiser in Chicago that brought hundreds of people together, to support our mission. So many friends and supporters came out for the event, dressed in their finest. People gambled at the charity casino, danced the night away and bid on silent auction items with all proceeds supporting the organization.
I am grateful to these people who attended— to the Honorary Chairman, Manolis Alpogianis who added a touch of his own support and flair to the event, to the dozens of volunteers who support and worked tirelessly throughout the night and were the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave… To Katerina Sfikas, the sole full-time staff member at the Greek America Foundation who had the weight of the world on her shoulders with the organization of the event.
I am grateful to Chef Maria Loi who traveled from New York City on her own time and her own dime, to lend her expertise to the Blackstone’s chefs to provide amazing Greek-inspired food for our guests.
We recognized the work of three organizations with our KOINONIA award for community service— The Hellenic American Leadership Council, the Greek American Motorcycle Association and the Olympiacos Soccer Club of Chicago— each doing amazing, out-of-the ordinary work that is helping to improve and enhance the lives of so many people.
But one person in particular to whom I am most grateful is someone every knows… They exist in all organizations, churches and communities. It’s the person who sits behind the scenes, working tirelessly, believing fervently in the mission and the one always shying away from any form of recognition or honor. This person is the well-known “unsung hero” of the organization.
In my life and in the life of the Greek America Foundation, that person is Tia Angelos. Always present, always ready and willing to stop what she’s doing to run around the city picking up and dropping off supplies from the event, taking time away from her own family to finish the job, being an enthusiastic advocate of everything we do— and expecting nothing in return.
Tia has often told me that her Greek heritage is important to her and that the work of the Greek America Foundation, in her opinion, is critical so that her two young sons have a community they can grow up in and be proud members of. Tia has traveled across the country to support and volunteer at our events, offer that wonderful smile to our guests and always represent the Greek America Foundation with pride, dignity and respect.
We’re all involved in churches, organizations and causes we select to support. And these “unsung hero” types are always there, everywhere. It’s important we pause for a moment and recognize their service, their leadership and their support every now and then and in my own way, this is dedicated to them.
Yes, we honored some great organizations and some great people came to show their support. But the real award for goes to the unsung hero— my hero, Tia Angelos.