New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Haeda B. Mihaltses, the highest ranking Greek-American in the Bloomberg Administration, received last Friday the “2004 Woman of the Year” award of HANAC (Hellenic-American Neighborhood Action Committee) at its 32nd Annual Dinner Dance.
Haeda B. Mihaltses, the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, has previously served as the Director of the NY City Council Finance Division under Former Speaker Peter F. Vallone Sr.
Mayor Bloomberg who attended the event held at the New York Plaza, praised his assistance for her hard work and leadership.
“She is very smart but perhaps the most important; she has a great feeling for people. She really does like people. Haeda has demonstrated exemplary leadership as the Director of my Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and has made important contributions that have strengthened the City and enhanced the quality of life for all her fellow New Yorkers”, Bloomberg has also spoken of her wisdom and right instincts.
“There is a Greek word “Sophia” that means wisdom and anyone who had the privilege to work with Haeda knows that she has the ability to predict who is going to win an election”.
Speaking to the “GreekNews”, Mihaltses praised HANAC for servicing the community with pride and dedication.
“HANAC is a wonderful organization, the only Greek American Social Service organization. I am very humbled by this tremendous honor and privilege they are giving me for naming me woman of the year”.
Haeda Mihaltses recalled that in 1979, when she was 15 HANAC gave her the first job as a summer camp counselor, and HANAC has been in my heart ever since. Its is an incredible organization, serving over 20,000 New Yorkers. Mrs Douris and Mrs Agnos have done an amazing job and it is absolutely incredible what they accomplished in the last 32 years”.
Evangeline Douris, HANAC’s chairperson, called Haeda Mihaltses “the pride of the Greek Community”, praising her service in the City of New York.
“She serves the City with distinction and honor and she is there for all the needy people of New York. She has a heart of gold and she is an accomplished woman”.
HANAC was created in 1972 under the visionary leadership of its founder, the late George Douris, in order to help Greek immigrants adjust to their new environment. Since then its mission has expanded to include all needy members of the community regardless of race, creed or national origin.
For over 32 years HANAC’s programs have addressed the needs of the youth, the elderly, immigrants, refugees, business owners, the unemployed and underemployed, as well as, families and individuals. The services they provide include, but are not limited to, housing, employment, transportation, training, family counseling, crime prevention, social services and substance abuse treatment.
“We are there in the community to offer services to everybody need our help, not only Greeks. We are growing and we need to grow more. We are going to go into affordable housing for seniors,” stated Douris.
A DREAM FOR THE GREEK-AMERICANS
George Douris’ dream was to see Greek Americans to get very involved in New York City’s public life and placed in the position they deserve. Evangeline Douris says his vision is continuing.
“He is watching over us and he seeing us growing into more programs and helping more people”.
As for the Greek Community, Evangeline Douris thinks we are doing much better, since HANAC was founded.
“One of his passions was for the Greeks to be in positions politically. We are progressing slowly, but we are getting there”.
Mihaltses also wants to see more Greek Americans becoming involved in both the public life and the life of New York City. When we asked her why she is not running for public office, she laughs and tells us for all her life she has spent her whole career behind the scenes and that she will continue to do that.
“Maybe someone else in the family will run for public office”, she said.
Her husband George Mihaltses, is the Councilman’s Peter Vallone Jr chief of stuff.