Louise and Andrew A. Athens
Andrew A. Athens, Co-Founder and the first Co-Chairman of Leadership 100, and Co-Founder and first President of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), who is also National Chairman of the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC), President and Founder of hellenicare and Honorary President of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE), will retire from public life effective September 30, 2012, stating:
“My life has been an incredible journey…I have served our country, America; our ancestral home, Greece; the Republic of Cyprus and our Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate for 70 years. I have reached the stage in my life where it is time for me to step back, however, I will always be available to assist and offer my guidance.”
Athens, who grew up in Chicago, Illinois, had a remarkable life spanning his service in the United States Army during World War II, his marriage to his beloved wife and life partner, Louise in Belgium, his efforts to rebuild a war-torn Europe, including Greece, and his business career in steel manufacturing and distribution. Throughout, he records his active role in local parishes to the highest councils of the Greek Orthodox Church and World Hellenism, and serving for 25 years as President of the Archdiocesan Council and serving as the first President of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE).
Athens is the recipient of numerous honors, including in recent years, an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law from The American College of Greece, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Council of Hellenes (SAE), of which he was the first President, the 2010 AHEPA Lifetime Achievement Award, the Athenagoras Human Rights Award, and the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence. He has been recognized for his humanitarian service, as well as for business and trade activities, by many foreign governments, including Greece, Belgium, Hungary, Georgia and the Republic of Ukraine.
Most recently, his passion and commitment have been devoted to the medical and humanitarian relief organization hellenicare, which he founded to assist “the forgotten Hellenes” upon witnessing their plight and that of their neighbors during his trips to the Former Soviet Republics.
A devoted family man, he continues to reside in Chicago, with Louise at his side and his children Paul (wife Kellee), also members of Leadership 100, and Jacqueline (husband Alex P. James), and grandchildren nearby. When he co-hosted the 15th Annual Leadership 100 Conference in Key Biscayne, Florida in 2006, with his brother, Dr. William A. Athens, a longtime member of Leadership 100, he reminisced about the loss of his brother Thomas A. Athens, also a Co-Founder of Leadership 100, who, he said “knew the mission of Leadership 100 by heart and told its story more effectively than anyone else.”
“We all three grew up in Chicago with our Hellenic heritage, Greek Orthodox faith and American spirit as indelible marks of our identity. Two of us became successful businessmen in the steel industry and one, a physician. We all served in the U.S. Army and Army Air Force in World War II, learning from our parents that dedication to our country was a primary responsibility. Over the many years since, we have seen our Church and Greek American Community grow in prominence, but we know it took the hard work of our parents and their parents to bring us to this point. Leadership 100, for us, was the expression of that legacy taken into the future. No other organization serves both Orthodoxy and Hellenism as explicitly or as well, advancing that mission in America and in the world.”