Philanthropist George Behrakis Urges Greek-Americans to ‘Never Forget our Heritage’

George D. Behrakis (file photo)

Greek-American philanthropist George Behrakis has said Greeks in the U.S. “must never forget our heritage, our religion — one of the oldest, our customs, and our Greek language”.

Behrakis was speaking at the annual convention of the Pan-Laconian Federation of the U.S.A. and Canada earlier this month.

The event, which took place in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, saw Behrakis deliver an emotional speech as a keynote guest.

In it he spoke of his childhood as the offspring of Greek immigrant parents who instilled in him the importance of education.

“We were taught to work, love and respect our neighbors. At the time of my era Lowell Greeks lived where they came from in Greece. We were taught that regardless where we came from Laconia, Acadia, Macedonia, Thessaly, Crete, the Islands we were all Greeks and we must work together for our Greek community, our Greek Orthodox Church and our families. We must never forget our heritage our religion one of the oldest, our customs, and our Greek language,” he added.

“We must educate our children and grandchildren about the glories of Greece. What other country has what Greece had? Brilliant minds, historians, philosophers, scientists, politicians who created democracy, the arts. Classical Greek art was influential in shaping Roman and later Byzantine art. Our children should have knowledge of our Greek heritage and its contribution to the world.”

Behrakis was also presented with a statue of Leonidas of Sparta.

A legend in the pharmaceutical business, George D. Behrakis has given away tens of millions of dollars of his well-earned money. In 2015 he spoke exclusively to Greek Reporter about his work, his philanthropy and the future of the Greek community in the U.S.