Flushing, NY.- By Catherine Tsounis
History was made on June 4th, 2019 evening at the NYPD 111th Police Precinct Awards Ceremony at the Adria Hotel in Bayside, NY. A humble, low key Auxiliary officer was honored as “Auxiliary Officer of 2019”. Chris Boudourakis of Bayside, New York was honored before a filled audience of the North Eastern Queens community. He was given three honors: awards from the 111th NYPD Precinct, 111th Community Council and NY State Senator John C. Liu. Mr. Bouroudakis was honored in 2008 as “Auxiliary Officer of the Year” by former NYPD Commission Kelly.
Mr. Boudourakis is a civic minded person who volunteers in police service areas. In plain words, he works without pay, wanting to give back to the United States for the honor of living in the greatest country that ever existed. 111th Precinct Captain John Hall said “Chris is always there to help us. We are honored to have him with us.” His spouse Maria, who works opposite St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Northern Blvd at Steve’s Barber Shop, and son were present.
“I come from a village near Alexandroupolis, the capital of the Evros regional unit in East Macedonia and Thrace,” he explained. “Our village is called Asimenio in the municipality of Didymoteicho on the northern part of the Evros regional unit.” Asimenio is across from the Asia Minor border of Turkey.”
“Asimenio was a large village in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,” he said. “Few persons are left. The villages are left to die. The government does not pay attention. In 1922, Asimenio was one of three places designed by a Russian civil engineer. My grandparents were refugees from Asia Minor. The Evros river separated their village of Zaloufi. They were forced to leave their homes in the population exchange of 1923 across the Evros river into Eastern Thrace that belonged to Greece. My grandfather said on a clear day, he would look across the Evros River and see his home in Turkey. He could pinpoint it. My children have visited Asimenio and seen it.” It is nearly a hundred years since the population exchange. It is an everlasting pain of lost homeland that is transmitted from generation to generation.
“Turkey was given a small sector on the west bank opposite the city of Edirne. At Edirne, the river flows through Turkish territory on both banks, then turns towards the south and forms the border between Greece on the west bank and Turkey on the east bank to the Aegean Sea.”1 “The population exchange of Greece and Turkish populations known as the Treaty of Lausanne, involved 1.6 million Greek Orthodox from Asia Minor, Eastern Thrace, the Pontus and Caucasus and 365,000 Muslims from Greece, most of whom were forcibly made refugees and denaturalized from their homelands based on religion…Each group were citizens and mostly native peoples, of the state seeking to expel them and neither had representation in the state purporting to speak for them in the exchange treaty.2 This is Chris Boudourakis roots. His family’s pain of a lost homeland explains his patriotism. Who works for free today? The NYPD has thousands of volunteers such as Chris Boudourakis. What makes Mr. Boudourakis unique is his intense enthusiasm to preserve the community, a society like his grandparents in Eastern Thrace, the gateway to Asia Minor. All of us were honored to see this exemplary American citizen recognized for his contribution to the NYPD on June 4th evening.