CAMDEN CHAPTER No. 69
ORDER OF AHEPA
Camden Chapter No. 69 was organized on June 4, 1925. Thirty six members were installed that evening. There was such great enthusiasm generated about this new organization that by the year’s end, this thirty six had increased by sixty.
For many years, our Chapter did not have permanent quarters. In 1947, out of the Camden Chapter, grew an organization named “American Hellenic Orthodox Centre” All their elected officers were Ahepans. A building was purchased in 1954 by the American Hellenic Orthodox Centre in Camden, where the Ahepa was given the second floor for a meting room and the third floor for the Greek language school. Some years later, the Greek Orthodox Church of Camden County was established and from this came the St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church. The ground on which our Church and Cultural Center are built was purchased by the American Hellenic Orthodox Cenre, whose leaders had the foresight to realize, that for us to grow , we needed room. The building in Camden was sold to the city renewal program, and the proceeds donated towards the erection of our Church and Hellenic Cultural Center. In the Hellenic Cultural Center, we have one of, if not the finest, AHEPA meeting room in all the AHEPA domain.
The Chapter also realized that the Greek language and heritage needed to be preserved. In 1929, the chapter established a Greek evening school. From that meager beginning, we now boast of having one of the finest Greek languge schools in the Delaware Valley area and beyond. Each year, we present the”AHEPA Medal for scholarship Excellence” to the outstanding student in our Greek language school.
Higher education is also high importance to our chapter. In 1965 one off our members established our first Scholarship fund. Other scholarships have been established by families of some of our deceased members,. Our scholarship funds have given grants totaling $100,000 to date.
At the District level, six of our members distinguished themselves by becoming District Governors. Our chapter has hosted 9 successful district conventions (‘48, ‘58, ‘67 ‘75, ‘89, 2000,2008, 2011 and 2014). One of our members was instrumental in establishing the AHEPA Fifth District Cancer Research Foundation. This foundation raises funds which are donated to be used for cancer research in the hope that some day a cure can be found to eradicate this disease.
Our chapter has hosted many benefit dances, with all proceeds going to different charitable organizations. It hosted dances to benefit 5th District Cancer Research Foundation, Deborah Hospital, Cooley’s Anemia, and the purchase of a pulse oximeter in the neonatal nursery of Vitua Hospital. Our chapter supported the Cyprus Relief Fund and, for several years, adopted Greek Cypriot refugee.
Our chapter has reinvigorated the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade. We have also hosted many Hellenic Cultural events, including plays, concerts and seminars. We are proud of our assistance to Saint Thomas Greek Orthodox Church over the years and to our assistance with the Saint Thomas Home for the Aged.
We have had many prior district AHEPANS of the year in Chris Sevast, Woody West, Mike Kouvatas, Stelios Theodoris, Elias Horiates and Anthony Chigounis.
Our Supreme Counselor George G Horiates hails from our chapter and is starting his second term on the Supreme Lodge. We also have the current Supreme Governor in Chris Diamantoukos.