The Washington Oxi Day Foundation will honor John P. Calamos, Sr. for his service to the United States in the Vietnam War and to the Greek-American community with the 2019 Michael Jaharis Service Award at a ceremony at the National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC on October 24, 2019.
The Michael Jaharis Service Award recognizes the dedicated military service and contributions, to the Greek-American community, the U.S. and to the world, in the spirit of Michael Jaharis. The ceremony is part of the Washington Oxi Day Foundation Courage and Service Awards.
John P. Calamos, Sr. joined the United States Air Force through the Illinois Tech ROTC program, earning his commission in 1963. In 1965, he went on active duty and pilot training in Texas. He was assigned to fly B-52s while stationed at Beale AFB in California on Airborne Alert.
By 1968, he was ordered to Vietnam to serve as a Forward Air Controller (FAC), assigned to the 20th TASS at Da Nang. Forward air control is the provision of guidance to Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft intended to ensure their attack hits intended targets and does not injure friendly troops. Calamos’ FAC squadron was the first to fly the Cessna O-2; an aircraft in which he recorded over 1,000 hours of flight time – 833 of those hours in combat.
Captain Calamos was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Nixon for “extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight under heavy hostile attack near Thuong Duc Special Forces Camp in Southeast Asia on September 28, 1968.”
His Air Force career encompassed 5 years of active duty and 12 years in the Reserves flying A-37 jet fighters. He retired a Major.
Calamos is Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Calamos Investments, a firm he founded in 1977. Calamos Investments has grown into a global asset management firm with institutional and individual clients worldwide. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm also has offices in London, New York, San Francisco, and Miami.
With 49 years of industry experience, Calamos has written two books on convertible securities and is often quoted as an industry authority. He is a frequent speaker at conferences around the world and appears regularly on major media outlets.
He received a B.A. in Economics and M.B.A. in Finance from Illinois Institute of Technology, where he and his wife, Mae, established two Endowed Chairs in Philosophy and Business. Calamos also received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from the Hellenic College Holy Cross.
Calamos’ father, Peter Calamos, came to the United States during World War I from a small village near Tripoli, Greece. John P. Calamos showed an interest in stocks at a young age and started his career as an investor after his service.
A great philanthropist, Calamos has long been a supporter of a variety of Greek-American organizations and causes. He is Chairman of the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, he is a supporting member of The Hellenic Initiative, the National Hellenic Society and Leadership 100.
He has been honored by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, becoming an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for his stewardship of time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the Church, making an oath to defend the Orthodox Christian faith and tradition. He is also a supporting member of FAITH, where he first met Michael Jaharis.
He serves as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. Calamos has been honored for his lifetime philanthropic contributions by various organizations including the Pan Arcadian Federation of America and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.
Previous recipients of The Michael Jaharis Service Award include:
- Michael S. Johnson (2018)
- Peter Vlachos (2017)
- John Payiavlas (2016)
Michael Jaharis (July 16, 1928 – February 17, 2016) was a Greek- American lawyer, businessman, and philanthropist. He was the founder of Kos Pharmaceuticals and Vatera Healthcare Partners LLC and co-founder of Arisaph Pharmaceuticals.
He sat on the Board of Directors of the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and was Vice Chairman of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In 1986, Jaharis and wife Mary Jaharis founded the Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc. In 2013, the Foundation pledged $2 million to help relieve hunger and poverty in Greece during the country’s economic crisis.