John Payiavlas Honored with Jaharis Service Award At Washington Oxi Day Foundation Event

John Payiavlas accepts Jaharis Service Award from Peggy Sotirhos Nicholson.

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Leadership 100 Chairman Emeritus John A. Payiavlas was honored with the First Annual Jaharis Service Award for his service in the Korean War by the Washington Oxi Day Foundation on October 27, 2016. Michael Jaharis, who passed away in February of 2016 was a Founder of Leadership 100 and a renowned Church leader, philanthropist and business entrepreneur. Presenting the Award was the Jaharis Family Foundation Executive Director, Peggy Sotirhos Nicholson.  The ceremony took place on Capitol Hill in the Senate Armed Services Committee Room.

Born to Geek immigrants in Warren, Ohio, Payiavlas served with the United States Army and in 1952 was deployed to join UN forces supporting South Korea as part of Fox Company, 7th regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. He later transferred to the Greek Expeditionary Force Battalion, one of four Greek-Americans to serve in the Battalion, and was awarded the Commander’s Silver Cross of Valour, the highest military decoration of the Greek state. He is the Founder and Chairman of AVI Foodsystems, Inc., which serves customers in more than 6,500 locations in 44 states. A noted philanthropist who has supported the Greek Orthodox Church and educational and medical institutions, he is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Also honored at this ceremony were three WWII Veterans - a Greek, an American, and a Greek-American.   Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Global Operations James Stavridis accepted the award for his father, George, who was honored posthumously. Former US Senator Ted Stevens was also honored posthumously and the award accepted by his wife, Catherine.

At a black tie gala in the evening, Vice President Joe Biden and escaped ISIS sex slave and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Nadia Murad were honored with the Oxi Day Courage Award.  Makis Matsas, the President of the Jewish Museum of Greece, was honored with the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award.

The Washington Oxi Day Foundation was founded and is run by Leadership 100 Members Andy Manatos (President) and Mike Manatos (Executive Director). Mike is a member of the Leadership 100 Executive Committee.

Payiavlas family members who attended, all members of Leadership 100, included his wife, Marisa, his daughter Patsy Payiavlas Kouvas, and his granddaughters, Kristin Kouvas DeJohn and Kailen Kouvas Echeverry. Other members of the family include Anthony J. Payiavlas, President and CEO of AVI, and four grandsons.


(L to R) Kailen Kouvas Echeverry, Kristin Kouvas DeJohn, John Payiavlas, Marisa Payiavlas and Patsy Payiavlas Kouvas.

(L to R) Andy Manatos, Mike Manatos, Catherine Stevens, Peggy Nicholson, John Payiavlas.

( L to R) Jim Pedas, Marisa Payiavlas, John Payiavlas and Ted Pedas, all members of Leadership 100.

John Payiavlas and Admiral James Stavridis, background right.

Payiavlas talks with the Greek Defense Attaché and colleague.

Leadership 100 member, Merkurios “Mike” Angeliades, with John Payiavlas.



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