AHEPA’s Gold Coast Chapter 456 Holds Successful Golf Outing Fundraiser
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association’s District 6 Gold Coast Chapter 456 held its yearly elections for president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. “We elected the same slate. Unfortunately yours truly is still president,” jokes Chapter President John Levas. He adds, “Once a year we have elections and I always tell the guys ‘all positions are open. Anybody that wants to run he can run I encourage it. But nobody else wants to, the members want to have the same slate all the time.”
Levas has been president of Chapter 456, which is the largest chapter on Long Island and second largest in the state of New York, for more than 15 years, but admits it can be a love/hate relationship. “I’ve been trying to get out of it for the last 15 years,” he says with a laugh. “This isn’t off the record, I tell everybody this. But nobody wants to take my position because I’m like the heartbeat and the pulse of the chapter and I take care of all the little things behind the scenes. All of the other guys always say to me ‘you can’t resign’. But don’t get me wrong it’s fun. It’s a good group of guys and I have a lot of contacts there so I really enjoy it.”
Though the elections are an annual special event, Levas says the rest of the meeting was business as usual. Monthly chapter meetings, which are held 10 months out of the year, begin at 6:00pm with cocktails, dinner is served at 7:00pm, and then the meeting itself begins at 8:00pm. They are held at the Port Washington Yacht Club in Port Washington, NY. Says Levas, “We have our own private bartender, our own catering there that serves us. They take care of everything for us. It’s basically a carbon copy for every meeting except for July and August when we’re off. The other 10 months out of the year they’re usually held on the first Wednesday of the month.”
Another aspect of the meetings that John Levas enjoys? His gavel! “I have a gavel and I get to bang it when I officiate meetings and swear people in and things like that. And yes, I have absolute power on the bench. I haven’t sent anybody up to Sing Sing lately but you never know. There’s always next month. Being on the bench is fun, especially when you get to make all the decisions,” he says.
The next topic of conversation was the outcome of the chapter’s 76th annual golf outing fundraiser, which took place on Wednesday, May 25th at the North Shore Towers and Country Club in Floral Park, NY. At this event, attendees’ charitable donations cover their golf fees, carts, gratuities, access to the golf range, lunch, a cocktail party, and dinner. Also, it wouldn’t be an AHEPA event without raffles and prizes. This year’s outing brought in $7,600 for the chapter’s charity program, despite having lower attendance than previous years. Says Levas, “$7,600 is pretty good for a one-day outing with 20 golfers.”
The next big event on the chapter’s horizon is its annual Christmas Dinner/Dance Fundraiser which, as always, will take place at the North Hills Country Club in Manhasset, NY. This year’s party will take place on Wednesday, December 14th and is fully planned already, according to Levas, despite being six months away. “It’s all planned. Everything’s set in stone. It’s a carbon copy from previous years so everything is ready to go.” Levas is expecting between 150 to 200 AHEPA members, significant others, and friends. Cocktails begin at 6:30 with dinner to follow at 7. The event will include a raffle, live Greek music from Alpha, and, as always, no presidential speeches from Levas.
AHEPA’s mission is to promote Hellenism, Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, Family and Individual Excellence. It was founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia and now has over 20 districts in the United States (most with multiple chapters), as well as in Canada, Greece, and Australia. The organization offers approximately $500,000 in college scholarships every year and past philanthropic deeds have included taking part in the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and sending care packages to troops overseas. Though most members are of Hellenic descent, membership is open to anyone who believes in the organization’s mission statement.