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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 26 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER 2019 7 COMMUNITY Straight from Greece to the dream of... police! The story of Constable Peter Roumeliotis and his wife and Protective Services Officer (PSO) Vicky Skoupa who left their country behind in search of a better future ALEX ANYFANTIS Greek Sacred Squadron or Band emblem. War. Lassen is buried in the Argenta Gap War Cemetery in Italy, memorialised in his home church and has a statue erected in his honour in Copenhagen. And a DanishBritish consortium is currently working on producing a feature film based on Lassen’s life. ANDERS REMEMBERED Lassen clearly played a key role in the liberation of Thessaloniki. Through his brave leadership and daring, he was able to motivate his men and in combination with the local resistance force the German departure from Greece’s second city, saving much of the city’s important infrastructure from destruction. His role at Thessaloniki was preceded by his service throughout the Aegean, leading raids on Crete, Symi and Santorini – to name only a few. In 2017 Lassen’s role in Thessaloniki’s liberation was honoured by a plaque in the Danish Consul in Melbourne. Maybe the time has come to recognise the role of this brave Dane and his small band of Allied soldiers in Thessaloniki. * Jim Claven MA is a trained historian and freelance writer, who has researched the Anzac link to Greece across both world wars. In 2017 he prepared the commemorative plaque honoring Anders’ and organized its presentation to Melbourne’s Danish Consulate. He would like acknowledge the work of Thomas Harden in his preparation of this article. Amongst other historical works, for further reading Jim especially recommends Suzanne Lassen’s Anders Lassen VC and Mike Langley’s Anders Lassen VC, MC of the SAS as well as Thomas Harden’s Anders Lassen Krig (in the Danish language). The natural beauties and laid back life of Greece may seem idyllic, however the financial difficulties that have struck the country in the last decade have lead many to seek a better life abroad. This was the case for Panagiotis (Peter) Roumeliotis and his wife Vasiliki (Vicky) Skoupa, who made the big decision to leave their homeland about six years ago. They left behind the life they knew in order to find something better; not just for themselves, but for their whole family. "We didn't have a mortgage to pay and we both had jobs, so we were seen as sort of the lucky ones," Constable Roumeliotis told Victoria Police in an interview for the Spring edition of Police Life. "But we were still just making ends meet and the future wasn't very bright. If our children wanted to go to university, we wouldn't have been able to afford it." And so, after much deliberation, the couple finally packed their bags and departed for distant shores. Melbourne was their choice destination due primarily to the city's quality of life and also the large Greek commu- PSO Vicky Skoupas and Constable Peter Roumeliotis came from Greece to accomplish their dream. PHOTO: VICTORIA POLICE Greek Australian police officers honour St Artemios’ feast day Being a police officer is not an easy task, and sometimes it takes special strength and divine intervention to survive. For the past 20 years, the Bust of Anders is in Copenhagen, at the junction of Amaliegade and Esplanaden, Copenhagen. Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police employees as well as their family and friends have made time in their busy schedules to acknowledge the feast day of Saint Artemios (20 October), the protector saint of the Greek police. This year was no exception, and 20 police officers attended the service that is co-hosted by Father Chris Dimolianis and the Victorian Hellenic Police Association (VHPA). VHPA President Andrew Markakis and VHPA Vice President Efti Anastasiadis attended the service and presented two plaques in recognition of the outstanding service to the VHPA to Father Chris and Australian Federal Police Officer Pamela Damokas. "This service is important for me and my Hellenic colleagues to attend as we receive a blessing from Father Chris during the church service to hopefully keep us safe and out of harms way," Markakis said. nity of people living in the city that would help them to adapt to their new life. "We had to start from scratch, even just finding a house to rent was a challenge," Roumeliotis said. Once they settled down and grew accustomed to their new life in Australia, they were able to see the many opportunities that Victoria offered them. One of those opportunities was to accomplish their shared dream of a career in the field of law enforcement. "I always wanted to be a police officer but the system in Greece is very different and I never qualified. Once I was older than 26, I could no longer apply," Roumeliotis said. And so he decided to join the Victoria Police Academy in September 2014, with his wife following just one month later. Four years later, the couple have become full-fledged members of the police force, finally accomplishing a longheld dream of theirs. In fact, during PSO Skoupas' graduation ceremony, it was her husband, Constable Roumeliotis, who gave her her medal, having graduated just one month earlier: "It was a really special moment because it was a moment where we could both stop and look at how far we have come since moving here," said Skoupas. "We feel very privileged to have these jobs and to serve the community. It's something that's only possible because we made the choice to move here." The men in blue and their families. PHOTOS: C. DEVES The men in blue attended the service at St Efstathios Church, South Melbourne.
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