Greek American Andreas Holevas has been a member of the Presidential Guard for about five months (since February) and says it was a childhood dream come true, adding that he was proud about serving in Greek army.
“It was my dream,” the 28-year-old told expat newspaper “Ethnikos Kirikas” in one of his leaves from his military duties as a Presidential Guard. In fact, at the moment, Andreas Holevas is the only expatriate who is serving in the Evzones.
A child of Greek immigrants, who migrated to the United States in the 1960s to seek their fortune, Andreas was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1992. But all things Greek were deeply rooted in the psyche of the whole family, and the photograph of his grandfather, Georgios Holevas, and his paternal grandfather, who had served in the Royal Guard in 1937, marked him and he always wanted to follow in their footsteps.
“I wanted to be an Evzonas just like my grandfather. So last year I did all the procedures to become a Greek on paper, I got a Greek passport and in January 2020 I presented myself to the Greek army. After I took the army oath at Soufli, I then managed to make my dream come true and join the Presidential Guard”, the 28-year-old Andreas told to “EK” in fluent Greek, which he learned not only by talking to his parents but also by attending the Greek school of Harrisburg Church.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Andreas’s family were unable to travel to Athens and see him up close. Recently, however, his father came to the Greek capital and meet his son.
“There is a deep feeling of pride and emotion,” said Mr. Athanasios Holevas in his statements to “EK”. Born in Messolonghi in 1950, originally from Neochori in mountainous Nafpaktia, Mr. Holevas moved to the United States in 1967.
However, he never severed the ties with his birthplace all these years – on the contrary, perhaps, as is the case in similar instances, they become even more intense. The family regularly visits the “old country”, its relatives and friends, but Mr. Holevas’s recent trip was somewhat different from the previous ones.
“I was looking forward to coming. I used my Greek passport because I could enter the country due to the restrictions that exist because of the coronavirus. I really wanted to see him up close. It was his dream and we are all happy that he made it happen”.