Greek-American success stories
I was speaking to mega-industrialist John Rangos for this issue and I told him I wish I had more time to dig even deeper into the epic and historic circumstances of his life: this is a man who literally changed the face of America. His ingenuity in turning industrial waste into building material was genius. And with his foray into politics, he might have even elected a few presidents. This is a man who did everything he set out to do in his life and literally changed his world, but this is also a man who changed the lives of so many others with his countless charity, particularly to children.
When I retire to Florida (or stay right here in Brooklyn and occasionally visit Chios) I would like to say I gave it all and made a difference.
Another man who gave it all and made a difference was my first cousin Stanley Neamonitis, who passed away recently in his late-‘70s, but for a man so active, still in the thick of life. He was a senior metals trader and saw the whole world, but the whole world for him was his wife Litsa and his two sons John and Chris in Manhasset, New York, where he was a mainstay of the community and the Archangel Michael Church for more than thirty years.
His son John said it best:
“Everything my father did, he committed to. There was no in between. There was no gray area: forty-four years as an international metals trader, thirty-six years of marriage, thirty years of parish council meetings, six years of weekly construction committee meetings to help build the beautiful church, three church journals, countless raffles, little league games, graduations, a wedding–he was always present. He was always on time. He never canceled.”
A member AHEPA as well as president of the Panchiaki Korais Society from 2013-2015, his service to the community over the years earned him the honor of the Hellenic Thread Award in 2013.
“I remember a night last fall right after he had received his (cancer) diagnosis,” says John. “He was winding down his term as President of the Panchiaki Korais Society and his final meeting was scheduled at the same time as the Mets National League Division Series Final against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets hadn’t been in the playoffs for 10 years and winning this game would send them to the National League Finals against the Cubs. Knowing how important this game was to him, my brother and I urged him to cancel or reschedule.’
‘Dad, take the night off, relax and enjoy the game. Who knows the next time they’ll be in the playoffs?’
‘As the words came out of my mouth, I remember already knowing that it wasn’t going to happen – (he wasn’t going to cancel) – that just wasn’t his style.”
People like John Rangos and Stanley Neamonitis are an example to us all.