An interview with AHEPA’s New Leader, Carl R. Hollister
The new Supreme President of the AHEPA, Carl (Icaros) R. Hollister ran unopposed, was elected and sworn in to the office of Supreme President at the 95th Annual AHEPA Convention and Anniversary Celebration in Orlando, Florida at end July.
Hollister has served in all positions in the AHEPA Middletown #209 chapter and in the AHEPA Buckeye District 11 Lodge. Most recently he was Supreme Secretary and an executive board member on the AHEPA National Housing Corporation.
The new Supreme President’s dedication to the organization was noted by outgoing Supreme President Andrew Zachariades and all the delegates greeted Hollister’s election enthusiastically. In turn, Hollister thanked the delegates for giving him “the reins of the largest and most dynamic organization of Hellenic Americans.”
Indeed, AHEPA, the oldest American-based Greek heritage grassroots organization, is also now the largest, with an international membershipin the AHEPA Family of 1.4 million, with chapters in Canada, Greece, and Cyprus, and “sister” chapters in Australia and New Zealand under the auspices of AHEPA Australasia. As Supreme President, Hollister’s responsibilities include being the chief executive officer and principal spokesman for the entire domain.
It was a challenge, but The GN managed to catch up with Supreme President Hollister during his rush of obligations–which included visiting Houston to survey the flood damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and to present AHEPA’s initial $15,000–some questions about AHEPA today.
GN: It is known that AHEPA has been committed to serving as a bridge between the U.S. and Greece, ensuring that the U.S.-Greecepartnership flourishes.
CH: The AHEPA family has implemented countless philanthropic, humanitarian, and community service programs in Greece including, most notably, public health assistance to upwards of nine hospitals throughout Greece, including the AHEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki and Evangelismos Hospital—all of which have been administered from our International Headquarters in Washington and through our 32 chapters in Greece. AHEPA is helping to strengthen the fabric of Greek society.
But there’s more… With positive developments regarding Greece’s economy—and momentum building toward its recovery—the Order of AHEPA wants to serve as a springboard as well and contribute what it can to keep this momentum going. We are happy to announce that we have signed an MOU with the Ministry of Tourism to hold the 2021 AHEPA Supreme Convention in Greece. The AHEPA ties to Greece are indeed strong and enduring.
GN: In your acceptance speech, you brought attention to AHEPA’s community service in the U.S. and abroad.
CH: The AHEPA Emergency Relief Fund was activated to help the communities affected by the weather disasters. This fund will be expanded to help those who have suffered from the wild fires in California. Our AHEPA Family is 20,000 strong and is committed to helping those who have suffered from these natural disasters.
GN: How long have you been involved in AHEPA? Is this the first AHEPA office you have held?
CH: I have been a proud AHEPAN for 18 years. I have served each office in my AHEPA Middletown #209 chapter; I have served on each position on our AHEPA Buckeye District 11 Lodge. My wife, Cynthia (Daughter of Penelope), and I were district governors together in 2008. Our daughter Alexandra is the current district governor for the Maids of Athena for Buckeye District 11. We are truly the AHEPA Family supporting all the Orders.
GN: Today there’s a push in American society to discover one’s ethnic roots, an idea that has been prevalent for the Greek American community since the late 19th century. Is not forgetting the community’s Hellenic roots one of AHEPA’s goals today?
CH: When the AHEPA was established it was done so by Greek Americans, now we are working with second, third, and fourth generations who now consider themselves Americans of Greek descent. We can tap into this sense of belonging. We continue to promote Hellenism, the ideals and principals developed in Greece and that have spread through the world; democracy being the greatest gift to civilization from the Greek people. We support Hellenic Studies programs at major universities across the country; Ohio State University and the University of Missouri are perhaps the largest.
GN: What are the ways that youth can be encouraged to participate in AHEPA?
CH: The AHEPA is working with various youth organizations to help them achieve their goals of being part of something significant. It is not important to be successful, it is important to be significant, by being significant we are positively affecting the lives of people every day; from our housing program where we house over 5000 senior citizens, from our cancer research where we have contributed millions for cancer research, scholarships for youth, our journey to Greece program, etc. The youth are looking for an experience and a sense of purpose, this sense of purpose or experience is exactly what AHEPA can offer the youth.
GN: What other AHEPA initiatives would you like the community to know about?
CH: We continue to work with the Hellenic caucus to help promote issues of mutual interest to Greece and the United States. Security, counterterrorism, humanitarian aid missions and economic development are crucial to help build upon the strong US–Greece partnership.
Some basics: the term of office of both the Supreme President and the Supreme Lodge Officers is one year and expires at the next conference, with only one consecutive re-election allowed.The 2018 Supreme Convention will convene in Atlantic City.
A SHORT BIO
Hollister is president of L.M. Kohn & Company, an Investment Advisory and Brokerage firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, managing 60 branch offices with more than $3.5 billion in client assets. With more than 20 years of experience in the Securities Industry, Hollister holds a Master’s Degree in Finance from Webster University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Grove City College.
He is a retired U.S. Army Major with 21 years of active and reserve service, of which, 17 years were in Special Operations with tours of duty in Central America and Central Asia. As commander of the Khost Provincial Reconstruction Team, Afghanistan, he was awarded the Bronze Star in 2005 for distinguished achievement. Hollister received noteworthy accolades in the Book “Counterinsurgency in Eastern Afghanistan 2004-2008” by Robert Kemp.