The Athens Academy yesterday recognized significant contributions made to society by Greek scientists, artists and social foundations at its annual awards ceremony. Two professors at the Athens University Medical School, Phaedon Fessas and Dimitris Loukopoulos, received awards for their contribution to the obliteration from Greece of the scourge of Thalassaemia (also known as Mediterranean anemia). In the field of the arts, the Academy reserved its distinctions for the entire works of the poet Manolis Anagnostakis and director Spyros Evangelatos’s 40-year contribution to the theater. Xenia Kalogeropoulou was also distinguished for her work in children’s theater and the Onassis Institute for its significant contribution to both culture and society since its foundation. The Academy also recognized three primary school teachers for their outstanding contributions to the education sector: Grigoris Karamanis, Constantinos Michopoulos and Giorgios Constantides were congratulated on their work in Ioannina, Drama and Grevena, respectively. The Academy also bestowed an award on the «St John the Theologian» society for Greek Americans in New York, who are descendants of the village of Nikia on the Dodecanese island of Nisyros, for their 90 years of national and social action. Thessaloniki’s American Agricultural School was also honored for its ongoing contribution to the agricultural sector since 1904. A posthumous award – along with a financial reward – was granted to the fireman Ioannis Krayias who lost his life in May attempting to extinguish a fire which ravaged the Ambelokipi area near Thessaloniki. A second posthumous distinction was awarded to three employees of the National First Aid Center (EKAB) – Antonio Vakari, Sofia Befon, and Giorgios Leventzonis – who died after the EKAB helicopter, which they were using for a rescue mission, crashed into the sea near the Cape of Sounion in a severe storm. Academy President Nikolaos Konomis, in a speech titled «The Political Message of Ancient Tragedy,» noted, «It is not always necessary to draw political and historical parallels from ancient tragedy but such allusions certainly serve to boost the citizens’ morale or to prevent them from the excesses bred by over-arrogance.» «They went to do a day’s work, get a day’s pay, and they never came back. They had plans to get a Christmas bonus. They had plans like everybody else, and they never got home,» Romas said.