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Officials honor Callas

December 09, 1998

Callas honoredBy KERRY LYNN FRALEY / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




Hagerstown businessman and community leader Michael G. Callas knew he was going to be the man of the hour Tuesday night as the recipient of the Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America's 1998 Distinguished Citizen Award.

But Callas, president of Callas Contractors Inc., had no idea that the dinner at the Sheraton-Four Points Hotel would be a major event during which friends, associates and public officials would also honor him with awards, citations, resolutions and words of praise.

They talked about his good character, kindness and willingness to help.

They praised his longtime commitment and contributions to the Mason-Dixon Council, the United Way, the Associated Builders and Contractors, Johns Hopkins University, Children's Village and to any other organization or cause that needed his help.

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"I'm overwhelmed. I really am," Callas, 77, said when he went to the podium after listening to more than 30 minutes of praise from a succession of speakers and letters read by Merle S. Elliott, last year's Distinguished Citizen Award recipient.

"You'll all have to bear with me. You all know I'm Greek and Greeks are very emotional. I can tell you I'm up to the top," he said.

Featured speaker Douglas M. Green, associate dean for research at Johns Hopkins University, Callas' alma mater, focused on Callas' long list of contributions to the school.

Callas, president of his senior class, the school's chapter of the American Society for Civil Engineers and its chapter of the Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society, has continued to provide leadership and support to the school.

Green, who is president of the Tau Beta Pi Association, presented Callas with the group's Distinguished Former President Award in recognition of his service to his alma mater and the profession.

Del. Robert A. McKee read resolutions of congratulations and recognition from the Senate of Maryland and the Washington County Delegation.

In the community, when a program needs support or an organization needs help, McKee said, "There's an old saying that goes like this: Give Mike Callas a call."

U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., presented Callas with a certificate of special recognition from Congress for his service to the community.

He was also presented with a Governor's Citation, signed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, for his years of community service and "unwavering commitment" to the young people of Maryland.

It was a marvelous evening, said Callas, who said he was touched that 100-some people took time out of their busy schedules to be there.

"You really are the thank you. If there's a profit in it, you are the profit," Callas said.

The Rev. George Daskalakis, a Greek Orthodox priest, ended the program with a short speech, some words in Greek to Callas and a prayer asking God to help others follow Callas' example.

Daskalakis said he knew Callas' parents would be proud and thankful to God for what their son has done with his life.

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