New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Cyprus – US Chamber of Congress bestowed the distinguished Merit Award to Peter J. Pappas Sr, Chairman of the Board of P.J. Mechanical Corp. and a philanthropist, during its 5th Annual Dinner reception, on Friday, May 30, 2008. More than 250 people attended the event honoring Peter Pappas not only for his business achievements, but also for his philanthropic activities, his contribution and his leadership to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and for the role model he is for the younger generation of Greek Americans.
Among the participants were the Consul Generals of Cyprus and Greece, Andreas Panagiotou and Agi Balta, Cypriot Trade Commissioner Aristos Contantinou, last yearʼs honoree and mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis, PSEKAʼs President Philip Christopher.
Opening the ceremony, NY State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris pointed out the continuous progress of the Chamber. He also praised the Cypriot Community for assisting him in all his political steps, mentioning especially the fact that he held his first fundraiser at the Pancyprian Community Center.
Speaking about the honoree he said that he is not only a good businessman, but also a philanthropist and a good Hellene.
The Chamberʼs President Peter Kakoyiannis described Peter Pappas as a respected businessman and philanthropist and the decision of the organization to honor him coincides with its principle, that “good business makes good politics. Peter Pappas is a sound example, because he has proven it as president of Cyprus Childrenʼs Fund, through tough times and as a member of the executive committee of the Archdiocese”.
Kakoyiannis informed the audience on the goals and objectives of the US – Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and ask them to join its ranks.
“Our mission is to maintain who we are in this complex world”, Kokoyiannis said.
Chairman and past President Andreas Comodromos coins the Chamberʼs success as the result of the support of members, sponsors and friends. For all these people, “recognition is the one and only reward”, he said.
After thanking the various members of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce, he congratulated Mr. Peter J. Pappas who is celebrated for his achievements and exemplary contributions.
“Peterʼs vigil and success to building PJ Mechanical into one of the largest mechanical contractors in the country today is the dream of every young entrepreneur. The Chamber is not only proud of Peterʼs Cypriot heritage, but his contribution to the cause of Alzheimerʼs and his dedicated services as President of the Cyprus Childrenʼs Fund.”
Expressing his gratitude to the Chamber for the award, Peter J Pappas recognized people like his father, who achieved something and who had the courage to leave their country and to areas unknown without any expectations other than to be fed and to live a life without expectations.
His father left his village of Droushia at 14 years old and after a day and a half of traveling reached the port of Pafos, from which he eventually found his way to America.
Mr. Pappas admits, “I didnʼt know Cyprus existed in my young life. I found out about Cyprus in school, but my father never talked about Cyprus.” It was after his fatherʼs death that he decided to go to Cyprus with his wife and children, where he was amazed and humbled.
Pappasʼ father, however, taught him the importance of passion and “to love whatever you do with passion”.
He states, “When you love what you do, when you have that, it drives you.”
He attributes much of his success to the passion that he has for all his endeavors, and that passion is what leads to wealth.
Mr. Pappas warns of the common misunderstanding made by people when judging wealth.
“People do not realize there is a wealthy world and there is a rich world. The wealthy will never have a problem taking care of anything, their experience and their cost to live. The rich live very briefly most of the time. They go, they spend and they canʼt wait to have more than someone else, but that doesnʼt make them wealthy. The wealth behind that is to have the passion for people, to embrace something and to be recognized.”
Peter J. Pappas ended his speech by emphasizing that one must have love for what they do, love for the community, and love for the church.
The program was presented by journalist Dorie Klissas, while the honoree was introduced by his friend James Pantelides. Special tribute was paid by all speakers to the Chamberʼs executive secretary Despina Axiotakis for her efforts.