Dimitrios and Georgia Kaloidis - 1998 Phidippides Award Recipients

Dimitrios Elias Kaloidis and Georgia Christou Manolakos were born in Laconia, Greece. They graduated from high school in Athens and emigrated the United States in 1955 and in 1963 respectively, where he committed himself to the restaurant business and she studied computers and business administration.

In 1974 Georgia and Dimitrios were married, and have been devoted to each other ever since, in life and in business. Through successful partnerships, they have founded a chain of diners which include The Floridian, the Dakota, the Carolina The Nebraska, The Georgia and The Arch. Their current ventures include the multimillion development of Terrace on the Park at Flushing Meadows and one of the largest multiplex cinemas in the country.

In 1991, they pledged $400,000 over five years to the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in support of the community's school. The pledge was fulfilled in three years, and the Holy Cross parish, in appreciation of their generous donation, named its Parochial School in their honor.

In addition to the original $400,000 gift, Georgia and Dimitrios offered to match dollar for dollar all donations made towards the elimination of the $1,200,000 mortgage on the Holy Cross Cultural and Educational Center, which houses the Kaloidis Parochial School, the Greek afternoon school program and all other community activities, from scouts to senior citizens. Their matching funds contribution added another $400,000 to their original donations. They have also taken out a $1,000,000 Life Insurance with the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church as the beneficiary. Scholarship trusts have been established from the interest and principal of this policy. Demetrios and Georgia pay tuition every year for the three top students of the Kaloidis Parochial School.

Dimitrios has been asked by His Eminence, Archbishop Spyridon to head the committee for the unification of the four Greek parochial schools Brooklyn. "If we do not get involved with education, if we do not provide for the present and. future generations of Hellenism, then we have no reason to exist "as an ethnic entity', he says. "Together we can achieve a lot. With harmony, tolerance and determination we have the capability to put together the best and largest school of the area, not only as a model for all Hellenic communities but for all the ethnic communities of New York.

"We have no children," Georgia says, "but we feel as if we have hundreds of children.... When my husband expressed to me his wish to support the school I thought it was the greatest gift possible. I am very blessed with Dimitri. I find him to be just, creative and a visionary. And he never forgets his humble beginnings… For as many years as we may still live, I want Dimitri and myself to continue with the same appetite for life, and with the same need to serve our culture, our language, our children and our fellow man".

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