LYNN — Thomas L. Demakes, a well-known businessman in the city, was honored by St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Sunday for his lifelong commitment to the church, which includes being one of its most generous benefactors.
Demakes, CEO of Demakes Enterprises, which sells products under the “Thin ‘n Trim” and “Old Neighborhood” labels, was honored during a luncheon ceremony that followed church services. He has previously served as the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer of the St. George Parish Council.
Demakes was praised by speakers, such as Costas Speliakos, president of the St. George Parish Council, for being a “man who has unselfishly devoted his time and his resources in helping to make St. George the great church we have today.”
In his honor, instead of presenting Demakes with a plaque, John Meklis, vice-president of the Parish Council, said the church wanted to do something above and beyond, and decided to instead to name an award for him and give it out at a special time in his honor. The award would potentially be given out to a steward of the church, who embodies the qualifications of community service, faithful stewardship, loyalty and integrity.
“I thank you very much for the honor, but quite frankly, I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do in trying to raise a family, trying to grow my business and trying to do good in the community,” Demakes said. “But nothing makes me as happy as helping St. George.
“Nobody owes you anything. All we can do is give those less fortunate than us a lift. I do everything I can to help the city of Lynn, to help the youth in the city of Lynn.”
Speliakos said Demakes also has a great talent for getting people involved in the church. He said it was Demakes who brought him in, and was the reason he ran for Parish Council. A little over 12 years ago, he said, Demakes told him that he (Speliakos) grew up in the church, and it was time for him to give back and get involved.
William P. Booras, a member of the Parish Council, said he’s another Demakes recruit. He said he first met Demakes at 10 years old — he’s now 75. That’s a long time to be abused by someone, Booras joked, adding that he’s still trying to figure out how to get away from the guy, but he can’t do it. “All of us here at St. George are graced by his presence (and) his tireless effort in making this church a treasure to be proud of.”
Metropolitan Methodios also spoke, thanking Demakes for a youth program that the diocese started this past summer with one of the larger metropolises in Greece, which he said was a great success, in part, thanks to Demakes.
He said the St. George community chose Sunday to thank Demakes for what “you have done for this parish, what you have meant to the city of Lynn, (and) what you have meant for the Greek orthodox community of the United States.”
The Rev. George D. Tsoukalas said that he was proud and grateful to be Demakes’ parish priest and to be a part of his “quest for the continued improvement and excellence” of the church’s facilities and programs.
“We have come together today to praise God … and to express our sincere and heartfelt thanks for the love and devotion of his faithful steward, Tom Demakes, our friend, our benefactor,” said Tsoukalas. “His love for St. George is profound, expressed in so many ways throughout the years. He is a source of strength that ignites and inspires others to serve the church with sacrifice and dedication.”