ΨΗΦΙΑΚΟ ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ ΒΛΑΧΟΚΕΡΑΣΙΑΣ

A Gesture of Gratitude

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Theoretically, the term “benefactor” could include individuals, associations or foundations, who have in some manner benefitted, materially and/or morally, some community or social group. For the VDM, we have in mind benefactors, independent of their place of origin or place of residence, whether or not they are still with us. The benefactors could be Vlahokerasiotes in Greece or abroad, as well as non-Vlahokerasiotes. Their benefactions involve generally the transfer of property (real estate), trust funds, donations and major contributions[1]. The beneficiary community is Vlahokerasia, its residents and its descendants. It is noteworthy that the benefactors of a local community, like Vlahokerasia, do not benefit only the local community –their “special homeland”.

With their generosity, they also help the country that would otherwise be compelled to set aside an equivalent amount of resources for the public works in question, thus also making them benefactors of the country – genuine patriots.

The present thematic unit includes materials (photos and hyperlinks) on 11 benefactors. The photo materials are followed by documentation with hyperlinks consisting of a biographical sketch of the benefactor and a brief history of his benefaction. The benefactions include the construction of the school of Vlahokerasia with the support of the “Brotherhood of Vlahokerasiotes in America”; the transfer of a plot of land to the Agricultural and Credit Cooperative of Vlahokerasia by cousins, Epameinontas I. and Giannis I. Adrianos and Giannis A. Andrianos; the establishment of a trust fund by Ida Contis for the community, the church and the disadvantaged; the transfer to the community of newly-built facilities or private houses by the Michalis Stasinopoulos Foundation, the Constantinos Tzavellas family, the Georgios Skoufis family, and Constantinos Siaperas; the creation of a trust fund by omogenis Giannis G. Kopitas for educational and cultural enhancement of young and adult Vlahokerasiotes; the building of an amphitheatre with the support of Kiki Katsafanas for the maintenance of our cultural and traditional heritage; and the construction of a small recreation park with the support of omogenis Georgios Chronis. In the documentation of this thematic unit, the Committee had the support and cooperation of the relatives of the benefactors, two members of the Committee (Aggeliki Katsafanas and Maria Copitas), Dimitra Chronis (Secretary of the Mucipality Area of Skiritida), Orestes Velissaris (Member of the Ida Contis Trust Fund Committee), Constantinos Brusalis (H.S. teacher and writer) and of Petros I. Sarantakis (writer).

A primary concern of the benefactors and/or their descendants, which can also be seen as an essential recognition/moral satisfaction of the benefactors, is undoubtedly whether or not and to what degree their benefaction has been used by the beneficiaries in accordance with the purposes of the benefaction. The school, the Andrianos plot, the church and the Siaperas plot have served 2-4 generations of Vlahokerasiotes. The school particularly has also served students from all the surrounding villages of the former Municipality of Skiritida. Unfortunately, the demographic changes in our country have led to the shrinking of country schools (see also Thematic unit on “The School of Vlahokerasia”) and changes in building use are unavoidable. The new building/donation of the Michalis Stasinopoulos Foundation had in the past hosted the community offices and the Center for Citizen Services while now it houses the Regional Medical Office of Vlahokerasia. The trust funds of Ida Contogianis and Giannis G. Copetas had, and continue to have, beneficial impacts on the village residents, the students of basic and higher education, the church-goers and the “disadvantaged” of the village; however, there is room for further usage of these trust funds under certain conditions. The houses donated to the community by the two families (K. Tzavellas and G. Scoufis) have undergone some maintenance and renovation work, at the expense of municipal funds, but further refurbishing Is required to make them usable in accordance with the benefactors’ purposes. The small recreation park, the benefaction of omogenis George Chronis, was inaugurated in 1983 and was used for about a decade after that. Then, the park suffered damages that have not yet been restored. To sum up, the benefactors, their descendants and the compatriots who manage the trusts on behalf of the community and its residents shall be vindicated,when the beneficiaries (and the local authorities who represent them) maximize the exploitation of a benefaction for the benefit of the village residents.

The Committee would like to underline that the present thematic unit does not include all the benefactions by individuals, associations and foundations. It does not include: (1) the benefactions of the those in this unit or of other benefactors to whom we made reference in other thematic units of the VDM (2) the crucial contributions involving the furnishing and operation of the school of Vlahokerasia (3) benefactors for whom we have yet not completed the documentation[2] and (4) hundreds of smaller-scale benefactions (monetary contributions, remittances etc.) for the community, the church, the country churches, the school, the census of Vlahokerasiotes and the publications of the Vlahokerasiotes Associations in Greece, that is impossible to mention. For the Committee, all the benefactions, major or minor, public or anonymous, are of vital importance. It is the sum-up of all the individual benefactions that make feasible a particular project, as it was demonstrated in the case of the statue for Capetan Giannakas. The VDM Committee is open to further enrichment of the present unit as long as the proposals are accompanied by the necessary documentation (photo and biographical sketch of benefactor and a note on the history and nature of the benefaction).

Numerous are the projects-targets for future benefactions that could contribute to the further economic and cultural development of Vlahokerasia, such as for example the further exploitation of the Tzavellas and Scoufis houses, the restoration of the small recreation park, as well as other works which are mentioned by the former President of the Vlahokerasia Cooperative, Vangelis Mitropoulos, the Military Veterinarian, Stathis Chronis and businessman, Christos Petropoulos (See other VDM units). They are especially crucial at a time that our country is going through an unprecedented multi-faceted economic crisis and the domestic and Community resources are insufficient. However, the good intentions do not suffice. Prerequisite, for our causes to bear fruit – whether these are addressed to benefactors or to public and EU agencies (or to multiple recipients) – is our proposals to be documented and cost-accounted. This means the local authorities need to take advantage of the local scientists with experience and knowhow in the preparation and submission of proposals for subsidization.

Nikos P. Petropoulos
VDM Committee Coordinator

Click here or on the image above to browse the flipping book.

 


[1] Alternatively, we could possibly have included voluntary work, such as the manual “personal work” of many Vlahokerasiotes for public works in the village, the free knowhow granted by scientists/engineers  to local authorities for the economic and cultural development of the village as well as the granting of medical services to compatriots free of charge.  Without doubt, these benefits are of vital importance and constitute an object for a separate research project.

[2] For example, Spyros Goumenis (omogenis from Australia) who, following the mediation by the “Vlahokerasiotes Association of Australia, sent $32,000 to the community of Vlahokerasia during the Vasilis Christopoulos administration (See “Voice of Vlahokerasia, December 2014).

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