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Pan Gregorian Enterprises Honors Members and Supporters
Tom Lambros was this year’s Honoree at the 29th Annual Gala of P.G.E.I. (Pan Gregorian Enterprises inc.) of America Charitable Foundation, which was held at The Venetian, in Garfield, NJ. Stephen M. Vajtay Jr., Managing Partner of McCarter & English, LLP made the opening remarks to an event that manages to be better and better every year, bringing together people from the food industry their families and friends, while doing good for the society at large through steady and generous donations.
Tom Lambros is a former President to the Board of Directors of Pan Gregorian Enterprises and he has been serving for many years as member of the Board for Trustees for the Charitable Foundation. He was born in Jersey City and a few years later his family moved to Union City. His father Paul emigrated from Thessaloniki and his mother Ann was born in the US.
At the age of 18, Tom Lambros joined the US Marine Corp, where he served in a fleet Marine force during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was also assigned to the Department of State and worked as a Marine Security Guard at various American embassies and consulates during which time he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. After he was honorably discharged, he met and married the love of his life, Barbara, with whom they have three daughters, Lisa, Dana and Lori.
After working a grueling schedule, in two jobs, in order to provide for his family, Mr. Lambros was able to save enough money to open a business with two partners. In 1971 they built and established the Plaza Diner in Fort Lee, one of the most well-known and successful in the State of New Jersey.
At the age of 50, he sold his interest in the diner and since then he manages several properties in Fort Lee and Closter, NJ which he acquired throughout his career.
Pan Gregorian President George Siamboulis saluted the event and thanked the attendants for their support. Former President John Sakellaris echoing similar ideas noted the wonderful work done through the organization and the reach to which it has extended itself.
Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, a “staple” of this event as it is impossible to think of it without his presence, offered the invocation and congratulatory remarks, mixing, as is his wont, wisdom and humor in a well executed recipe, without one ingredient overlapping the other.
For Consul General Koula Sophianou it was a rather emotional experience because it was the last time she was addressing the event with that title. She departed to Cyprus a few days after to assume a higher office in the Foreign Ministry. “I will always remember you, as part of my family,” she said in her brief remarks.
For Consul Manos Koubarakis of Greece, it was his first and he seemed to have enjoyed it! “I’m looking forward to seeing you many more times,” he said, “always promoting Hellenism and our ideals.”
Pan Gregorian Enterprises of America Charitable Foundation President James Logothetis congratulated the Honoree Tom Lambros whom he thanked for his contribution and expressed his gratitude for the people’s support to the organization and its activities.
The Charitable Foundation was established in 1987 as the philanthropic arm of Pan Gregorian Enterprises, Inc. and has eased the suffering of children with serious diseases. The organization’s charitable activities express the gratitude of the membership to their patrons and general public for supporting their diners and restaurants.
According to Mr. Logothetis, “the organization has succeeded over the years to donate over $1,900,000 to W.T.C. Relief fund of Victims 9/11; Greek Children’s Fund at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund at Hackensack hospital; Cyprus Children’s Fund; Deborah Hospital- Heart and Lung Center; Ronald McDonald House; St. Basil’s Academy; Pan Epirotic Federation of America, Canada and Australia; Rutgers University; Earthquake Victims; B’nai B’rith Foundation; St. Michael’s Home for the Aged and other charitable causes.”
The foundation’s contributions are raised through its annual charity banquet, souvenir journal, raffles, concerts and coin boxes at Pan Gregorian’s member locations. The foundation’s trustees, members, vendors and friends have contributed to its success.
This past December, Pan Gregorian held its traditional Holiday Party, again at The Venetian, where they thanked people who help the organization and its various activities. They also celebrated Pan Gregorian’s 30 years of service, honoring its late Founder George Manolios and the members of the first Board of Directors, John Kallas, Michael Stamatakis, John Kourtis, George Antimisiaris, Kostas Kassimis, Alex Alexandris, Emmanuel Vastardis, William Vastardis, George Michelis, George Chronis, John Halkias, Michael Pagonas, Louis Arvanitis, Emmanuel Lathourakis, Emmanuel Manolakis and Nikc Pantazis.
They also honored Pan Gregorian’s Executive Director Toni Bletsakis, Legal Advisor Steven Vajtay and Accountant Andy Comodromos who also MCed event.
On behalf of the Elytis Chair at RutgersUniversity, Professor Panos Georgopoulos offered special recognition to George Siamboulis, James Logotheris and John Sakellaris for their continuous support to Hellenic education.
Pan Gregorian Enterprises, Inc. (PGE) is a Food service Cooperative which was formed by Greek American restaurant owners. PGE began in New Jersey, but with success, the concept quickly expanded to Metro New York & Long Island, Upper New York and Connecticut.