In 1951, at the age of nineteen, while working as a bellhop in Athens, Greece, Timmy Papanicolas got the chance of a lifetime; to immigrate to America. He read in a Greek newspaper of the time that the United States had passed a visa program. Via the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, a Greek-American fraternal association established in 1922, 10,000 young men from the Greek Civil War could be sponsored to immigrate to the United States. An AHEPA representative, he met in the hotel he worked at, sponsored Papanicolas, who entered the United States later that year.
As the years went on, Tim worked hard in the restaurant business. He opened his own restaurant and eventually helped his entire family immigrate to America and started the diner business. Living in the Wilmington, Delaware area, his family became members of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, and he joined the local AHEPA Chapter #95, where he eventually became president. Papanicolas spent a lifetime helping those around him, giving to his church and community, and making his American dream a reality. Today, Papanicolas is retired and living in Thessaloniki, Greece. He often returns to see his family and the country that gave him so much.
Originally published on Cosmos Philly by Eleftherios Kostans. Video by Vasilis Keisoglou.