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Serving those who serve : Dr. James Angelos heads to Iraq to help those in combat zone cope with
NORA K. WALLACE, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
June 23, 2008 7:07 AM
After 21 years of private practice treating the psychological needs of children and adolescents, Dr. James Angelos is packing up his office,
saying farewell to patients, shredding documents and filing away important papers.
The 60-year-old psychologist is not retiring, however.
He left this weekend for the start of a year-long appointment to the Office of Medical Services in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, where
he will treat civil servants -- and some Marines -- trying to cope with the stress of being in a war zone.
Once situated in Baghdad, he will be in charge of directing patient care at the Embassy, as well as coordinating psychiatric medical
evacuations, consulting with Embassy personnel about how to manage workers coping with the stress of being in a war zone and also
facilitating teamwork among the various groups staffing the Embassy, including foreign nationals.
The job is classified as a "limited, non-career opportunity."
The chance to go to Iraq came following a discussion with the partners in his practice as they talked about all the people coming home from
Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorders or traumatic brain injuries. They thought they could help out, and maybe volunteer at Camp
Pendleton, near San Diego, for a day or so. But nothing materialized until he saw a job posting last October in a psychological association
magazine. The State Department was seeking someone with prior military service who "possessed comprehensive and extensive experience
evaluating and treating individuals with catastrophic or traumatic physical and/or psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress
disorder and traumatic brain injury," to serve in a diplomatic position in Iraq.
Dr. Angelos' prior military service was a stint in the Army after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1970 with a degree in
psychology. He served two years active duty in Germany, and then spent four years with the California National Guard, as a sergeant
directing a field artillery unit and doing intelligence analysis.
After thinking about the Embassy job for a few days, he sent in an application letter,
and then told his wife, Ruth, and office partners.
"Years ago, it was impressed upon me that along with the privileges in life, there are
also obligations," Dr. Angelos explained.
"I have lived a privileged life personally and professionally. I wanted to step up and
step away from a quite prestigious, lucrative practice in Santa Barbara and just go."
People have asked him, he said, if his decision was politically motivated.
"This is not a political comment at all," he stated.
"Whether you support the president or not, this is an issue of me supporting the
people who are involved there. That's what it's all about. I've come to realize my
physical absence paradoxically will raise awareness of what's going on there."
Recently, he attended a conference on combat-related stress, and learned that there
are an estimated 300,000 cases of returning veterans with post-traumatic stress
"The V.A. has no idea what to do," said Dr. Angelos, who has lived in Santa Barbara since 1986. "Part of what may go on (while he's in Iraq),
we may have discussions about how to facilitate getting people into treatment quickly."
When her husband first announced his intentions, Ruth Angelos said her immediate reaction was, "You what? Where did this come from? Are
Ultimately, she realized that the timing was appropriate, as the couple's children are grown and on their own.
"Being in the military before, he has a heart for soldiers, so that's good," said Mrs. Angelos, assistant to the director of library and supervisor of interlibrary loans for Westmont College.
"That's the hidden Rambo in him ... I'm very proud of him. It's a really important thing he's doing."
She said there was time between her husband's application submittal and his job interview, when he was questioned whether he was serious about the endeavor, and whether it was a
good thing to do.
"In a way, you feel a little stunned," Mrs. Angelos admitted. "There's so much unknown. It's a totally new thing. In his field, he takes on so much of the strain and stress of the people he
talks to, I wonder about the stress for him. We did talk about that."
Dr. Angelos' workload will change significantly once he arrives in Iraq in August. Now he sees about five patients a day, and consults for a few days at Solutions at Santa Barbara, a
licensed adult residential facility and adult day care for brain injury rehabilitation. In Iraq, he's been told he'll be working six days a week, with extended hours.
"I'll be seeing a great deal more people on a day-to-day basis," explained Dr. Angelos, who previously worked for the nonprofit Rehabilitation Institute at Santa Barbara. "The difference is
going to be, someone may not have been in an auto accident, but maybe they have concussion injuries or a traumatic brain injury. They may have the constant stress of extended tours of
A medical internist runs the Embassy clinic, where two nurse practitioners and one psychiatric technician also work. He will be the only clinical psychologist on staff. For the next month,
he'll go through orientations in Washington, D.C., including courses on counterterrorism, surveillance detection and firearms familiarity.
Dr. Angelos and his wife have three children: Julie, 29, Nicholas, 27, and Lauren, 24, all Santa Barbara residents. Julie is due in September to have the couple's first grandchild, a boy to
be named Richard James.
Lauren Angelos said she has mixed feelings about her father's departure, but that ultimately she is proud of him.
Dr. James Angelos, above and below, will be
working for the State Department at the
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for a year.
MIKE ELIASON/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS
Dr. Jim Angelos stands with his wife, Ruth.
Santa Barbara News-Press Page 1 of 2
"Ever since I was little, he had his war movies, his Army films," she recalled. "He would turn on his cadence tapes and go jogging. He loved his time in the Army and wished he could have
She said she wasn't surprised he chose to take the job, but she wasn't happy either.
"I realize the place he's going to be going, regardless of it being an Embassy, the danger level is not ideal to be there," said Ms. Angelos, who begins law school in San Diego shortly. "But
it was something none of us decided to protest or say anything about. He has done so much for us and our family ... It's his time to do what he wants to do. You couldn't describe a better
situation for him."
Earlier this month, Dr. Angelos received a commendation letter from the Order of Ahepa, a philanthropic organization through his church, St. Barbara's Greek Orthodox Church for
participating in the war effort at a time when many people observe the war as "a distant event in which we are uninvolved and therefore it is not in our consciousness."
His actions, according to the letter, speak to the organization's ideals of love of people and man's commitment to humanity.
"We know that our soldiers return home as changed individuals," the commendation states.
"When the delicate emotional center is warped by the stress of combat, it needs healing. Too many combat veterans return home only to have the emotional manifest later into the
physical body as a cascade of illness syndromes.
"You have chosen to break through the isolation of this modern world by volunteering to use your skills as a physician to heal that center of perfect energy and forestall the onset of the
imperfect manifestation in the physical body. This service to your fellow man is imbued in every good physician. Indeed it is an unselfish ministry of the highest order. This recalls a prior
generation with its ethos of self sacrifice."
As he prepared to leave, Dr. Angelos said he considered his personal safety, and was even asked to ponder his fate during his interview process.
"I can't worry about that," he said. "If I die on the first day I fly in, that's my fate. I'm not worried."
ORDER OF AHEPA
SANTABARBARA CHAPTER #243
Established October 17, 1929
“Promoting the Harmony of Greek Culture, Service, and Community”
“Keeping the Spirit Alive” http://www.ahepa20.org/~chapter243/www.ahepa20.org/chapters
(easier for some)
“Let’s Do Something Great in 2008”
MINUTES OF JUNE 16, 2008
**LATE BREAKING NEWS**
June is the beginning of the summer and the second half of the calendar year. It is the first month of our Chapter year and as you read the minutes you will note that we are looking forward with optimism to create new programs which will invigorate our Chapter, make clearer our purpose, be of better service, bring fun, and increase our membership. June is bringing new beginnings. Let’s give some thought to our Ahepa chapter this summer (especially on the 20th which is the longest day of the year). Enjoy the summer. “Perhaps, in utilizing our human capacity to build on the foundation of the generations before us, we have inadvertently become so focused on our own building that we have forgotten the foundation that holds it up: or in reaping for so long where we have not sown, perhaps we have forgotten the need to sow”.
Our treasurers report that all members are current in their dues-we did not have to call on the services of Guido-for which we are very pleased. We have one reinstatement-Sam Petronakis- and we are happy he is back with us.
Sadly we learned of the death of Costa Gastouniotis’ father-in-law, (Georgia’s father). Our chapter extends our sympathies.
Our next meeting will be held on Monday July 21, 2008 at Harry’s Plaza Café where the Loreto Plaza is being transformed into a beautiful Spanish motif. Hopefully we can find the front door in its new location.
HAVE YOU VISITED OUR WEB SITE RECENTLY?
Gregory and I arrived after the meeting had started so our legal advisor and one of the brilliant legal minds of the country William E. Poulis Esq. took the minutes until we arrived. We thank him. After the meeting Bill wanted me to see his briefs and discuss the subject matter therein. I did not handle them. It was not June 17th yet so my uneasiness was quelled. (Think about it)
Our Chapter meeting was called to Order by President Jim Arger at 6:40 PM. By the end of the meeting we had thirteen members present.
The opening prayer was led by Bill Poulis
The Happy Dollars container was a large wine flask as our crystal cut container was left in a safe place. There were many glad tidings which were shared and appreciated by all of us.
The Minutes of the May 19th meeting were approved by vote.
Chris Compogiannis with assistance of Steve Compogiannis gave the Treasurer’s Report. Checking account=$1760.51, Smith Barney account=$9444.95, Happy Dollars=$246.00, and our savings account =$9198.95
All dues are paid to the National Ahepa.
We have yet to receive from the DOP their share of the $114.00 which is the cost of the Ahepa Sunday coffee hour. We still owe Carol Stathopolos our half of the $33.33 cost of the kolova for that day’s memorial
We did not have any Chapter Correspondence.
The District 20 Convention was discussed. Chris Compogiannis brought the District 20 Convention Souvenir Book which contained our one page advertisement and message for which we paid $150. The book was passed around so all could see the page. (See it for yourself on our web site.).
Santa Barbara Chapter youth receiving District Scholarships were: Eleni Pantages ($2000), Maria Arger ($1250), and Nicholas Petronakis($1250).
PDG Costa Frangos along with District 20 Governor Peter Triantafyllos presented the Rett Syndrome Project which arose out of our chapter to make this a District Project. Peter read the letter from Ernest and Andriana Kolendrianos which further touched those in attendance and they passed the resolution to make this a District 20 Project. Now Costa will work to make this a National Ahepa project. We will have to show our own fundraising efforts for this project.
Yesterday’s presentation of the Commendation Letter to Brother Jim Angelos for his pending service in Iraq was discussed. PDG Peter Triantafyllos, and PDG Costa Frangos were inattendance while PSG Lyle Hochberger made the presentation.
All agreed that the presentation was impressive and well received. View the Letter on our web site.
The request by the Greek Heritage foundation for funding for their Greek historical movie was again tabled. Greg Pantages viewed the DVD and said that the film covered a wide range of Greek Historical information. He found the product to be entertaining and informative. The members wanted to investigate if there is information in the film of the Santa Barbara Greeks and Ahepa and their history.
At this point Gregory and I arrive at 7:14 PM and the members created a big welcome.
TerryKaramanis sent a request that our chapter purchase an advertisement in this year’s Greek Festival Brochure. Jim Chachakos reminded us that last year we purchased a business card sized advertisement for $150.00. The cost now is $200.00. This request was passed by vote. PDG Costa Frangos who is this year’s festival chair asked if Ahepa would sponsor a booth. Chris Compogiannis suggested that the sponsorship in the name of Ahepa would come from individual donations. This was agreed upon. We wanted a booth which would have high visibility and the Gyro booth was chosen. Those members who volunteered to donate $100 to this cause were Chris Compogiannis, George Alexiades, Jim Brown, Bill Poulis, and Costa Gastouniotis. Bravo gentlemen, it is appreciated.
There was a request from National for monies to give aid to Greece as a result of the recent 6.9 earthquake. This was declined.
Parish Council V.P. and chapter member Bill Pertsulakes sent a request for aid. The church is not receiving enough financial support and the motion to divert the festival funds to the general fund was narrowly defeated in the General Assembly. Bill would like to have a crab bake like the Modesto Ahepa chapter holds and with the assistance of Presbytera’s father Chris we can use this as a fundraising venture for the church. Bill asked for our support and assistance. This passed by vote.
We discussed the menu for the November Glendi. After much discussion we voted to have as the main entree three lamb chops and that the food would be served as a buffet. Bill Poulis made the motion and Geo. Papazacharioudakis made the second. At our next meeting the committee will round out the menu and give costs and we will try to agree on the cost of admission.
Good of the Order-PDG Costa Frangos and Jim Brown talked about bringing in new members, making the meeting fun, providing more service. A committee consisting of Jim Brown, Chris Compogiannis, George Alexiades, George Papazacharioudakis, and PDG Costa Frangos will meet after the festival and bring suggestions.
Peter Triandafyllos is our first Honorary Member. We recognize his unfailing support of our chapter and our projects.
Happy Birthday to Jim Arger (7/27) and to John P. Demourkas (8/31).
See you at Harry’s on July 21st.
Respectfully Submitted, James P. Brown, D.C. Chapter Secretary.
ORDER OF AHEPA
SANTA BARBARA CHAPTER #243
Established October 17, 1929
“Promoting the Harmony of Greek Culture, Service, and Community”
“Keeping the Spirit Alive”www.ahepa20.org/chapters
“Let’s Do Something Great in 2008”
LETTER OF COMMENDATION
Brother Ahepan, James Angelos,
We are living in a changing and complex world. Electronic instant communication is creating a smaller world yet we are becoming isolated islands to ourselves. Our nation is engaged in a conflict in a distant land with the potential of successful outcome changing the dynamic of the area, bringing that part of the world into the modern global family. Yet the majority of our people do not suffer or participate in this undertaking. We observe this event on the television as a distant event in which we are uninvolved and therefore it is not in our consciousness.
We know that our soldiers return home as changed individuals. When the delicate emotional center is warped by the stress of combat it needs healing. Too many combat veterans return home only to have the emotional manifest later into the physical body as a cascade of illness syndromes. You have chosen to break through the isolation of this modern world by volunteering to use your skills as a physician to heal that center of perfect energy and forestall the onset of the imperfect manifestation in the physical body.
This service to your fellowman is imbued in every good physician. Indeed it is an unselfish ministry of the highest order. This recalls a prior generation with its ethos of self sacrifice.
The mission statement of Ahepa contains six articles. The most important of these is the mission of Philanthropy-“love of people” and the Hellenic principle of “man’s commitment to humanity”. Your actions speak to these ideals.
IT IS FOR THESE REASONS BROTHER JAMES, THAT WE HONOR YOU TODAY.
It is appropriate that this presentation takes place on the day that our Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the Pentecost, and follows the day in which our nation honors our National Symbol-The Flag of the United States of America-and the high ideals it represents.
With you go the prayers of your Parish community and of your Ahepa brothers for the safety of you and your family. May you always know that you are protected. May you always know that whatever you need will be provided. May you have life and wisdom.
WE PROUDLY PROCLAIM-“AXIOS”
PRESENTED ON THIS DAY, SUNDAY JUNE 15, 2008 TO AHEPAN BROTHER JAMES ANGELOS
PSG Lyle Hochberger DG John Triantafyllos PDG Peter Triantafyllos
PDG Costa Frangos George Alexiades Jim Arger
Thanasis Batalas Gregory P. Brown James P. Brown, D.C
Dr. G. Chachakos Gus B. Chachakos Jim Chachakos
Mathu P. Chrestenson Chris Compogiannis Steve Compogiannis
John P. Demourkas Peter J. Demourkas Costa S. Gastouniotis
Alex P. Haimanis Chris Hartman Anthony Kallas Ph.D
John Laury Gregory J Pantages Jr Geo Papazacharioudakis
Nick A. Pappas Bill Pertsulakis Sam Petronakis William E Poulis Esq Steve T Poulos Rev Fr Simon Thomas Ahileas Tziouvaras Paul Tziouvaras
AHEPA Lauds Passage ofBrumidi Congressional Gold Medal Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading association for the nation's 1.4 million American citizens of Greek ancestry, and Philhellenes, applauds Congress for passing S.254/H.R.1609, a bill to award posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal to Constantino Brumidi-the "Artist of the Capitol."
"We appreciate the leadership and effort of the Hellenic Caucus and the Italian American Congressional Delegation for seeing this bill through to passage," said Supreme President Ike Gulas. "Brumidi represents the best of the American immigrant experience, becoming a citizen as soon as he was able and embracing our nationâ€™s history and values."
Brumidi was born in Rome of a Greek father and Italian mother. His artwork adorns numerous rooms in the U.S. Capitol, including several committee rooms, the Office of the Vice President, and the President's Room. Brumidi's crowning achievement is "The Apotheosis of Washington" in the eye of the Capitol dome.
"On behalf of the entire AHEPA Family, it was a pleasure working with our Italian-American friends at the National Italian American Foundation and the Constantino Brumidi Society on this worthy project," added Gulas. "Today's accomplishment is the culmination of four years of hard work by my predecessors, Past Supreme Presidents Franklin Manios and Gus James, who saw the importance of coalition-building and a proactive outreach campaign on Capitol Hill, and I am humbled to be president during the bill's passage. I am proud AHEPA's been instrumental in every part of the legislative process while educating the community about Brumidi,s significance."
H.R.1609 had 307 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. S.254, which passed the senate in 2007, had the support of all 100 senators.
The AHEPA Family expresses gratitude to: lead sponsor U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL); Italian American Congressional Delegation Co-Chair John Mica (R-FL), and U.S. Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Zack Space (D-OH), Rick Renzi (R-AZ), and John Sarbanes (D-MD) in the House of Representatives; and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the Senate for working diligently on the bill.
When completed, the gold medal will be displayed at the Capitol Visitors Center as part of an exhibit honoring Brumidi and a posthumous presentation will be made by Congress.