(L to R) Michael N. Bapis, Nikitas and Marika Drakotos, Archbishop Demetrios and Dr. Ruth Browne.
Nikitas and Marika Drakotos, co-founders and associates of M & N Management Corp and members of Leadership 100 were honored by the Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House New York at the 22nd Annual Christmas Celebration at The New York Athletic Club in Manhattan on Tuesday, December 12.
The couple were main supporters of the Greek Division in its early days. Michael N. Bapis, Chairman of the Greek Division noted that Marika was a good friend of the late Niki Sideris, Founder and first Chairman of the Greek Division, and she had hosted a celebration at her home when the foundations were laid for its creation almost 40 years ago.
“This honor belongs to my wife Marika,” said Nikitas Drakotos. Upon receiving the award, he thanked the more than 350 volunteers, friends and sponsors of the Greek Division who joined forces this year to help the children who fight cancer and hosted them with their families at Ronald McDonald House. During the Christmas Celebration, the Drakotos family continued their tradition of support and offered the Greek Division a $50,000 donation.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America delivered the Invocation, assisted by Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos, while the Greek Minister of Tourism, Helena Kountouras thanked the Omogeneia and especially the Drakotos couple and the Greek Division. She stated that "it is very important to help, especially children who are our future."
The Christmas Dinner along with the Walk-a-Thon of Love held every May are the two main events organized by the Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House New York, which was founded 39 years ago by Niki Sideris, with the support of the then President, Vivian Harris.
The event was also attended by Consul General of Greece in New York, Dr. Konstantinos Koutras, his wife, Popita, and Consul Lana Zochiou, as well as the Executive Director of Leadership100, Paulette Poulos.
The organizers of the event announced that the sisters of Metropolitan Philotheos of Meloa of Blessed Memory, Elli Karamitsou and Maro Manesis, presented a check for $5,000 bequeathed to the Greek Division by the Metropolitan, who had been an ardent supporter and had offered spiritual guidance to the Ronald McDonald House
In his welcome remarks, Bapis, who also was the Master of Ceremonies, stressed that with the support of the Greek Community, the Greek Division is a "lifeline" for the families coming from Greece, Cyprus and the US for the treatment of their children. Special thanks were expressed to the members of the organizing committee and especially to Spiridoula Katechis, who coordinates the work of the Greek Division.
Ronald McDonald House President Dr. Ruth Browne, thanked the Greek Community for their long-standing support, and noted the renovation of the institution's facilities that have made it the world's largest such facility and the new services that it can now provide.