"My father was my hero. He taught me to be resilient, courageous and compassionate. He taught me the importance of being not only environmentally responsible, but also socially compassionate. He was a visionary who lived his life according to his ideals, and I can only hope to live up to the beautiful example he set. He was the best father in the world; it was an honor and a privilege to be his daughter," states Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks.
He fulfilled the quintessential American dream. As a Greek immigrant he arrived in America with barely any money. Twenty dollars to be exact and overcame many obstacles.
Today, Earth Friendly Products is the largest plant-derived green cleaning products manufacturer in the US.
It provides affordable and chemical-free products that are environmentally responsible. It is a “champion” in the eyes of the Environmental Protection Agency.
"I profoundly believe we should all respect Mother Nature, embrace the new era of sustainability and live a healthier and greener life. I have dedicated my life to promoting this message and wanted to make an impact in the world we live in. With my hard work and real passion for green living I have tried to make a difference," Dr. Van Vlahakis shared with us a few months ago.
Dr. Van Vlahakis is survived by his children John Vlahakis (Stephanie Anton Vlahakis), Elli Manolas (John Manolas), Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks (Eric Hanks); and by his grandchildren Alexandra Vlahakis, Ian Vlahakis, Zachary Vlahakis, Nicole Manolas, Stacy Manolas, Kasia Manolas and Alexsia Hanks.
Our tribute to Dr. Van Vlahakis:
We learn about the imminence of death, when we lose someone dear and that living is the privilege of those who will eventually die.
Your vision, leadership, and true compassion will remain an inspiration to us.
As we reflect upon your life and the way you respected Mother Nature, we would like to dedicate this poem to you:
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
I mean-the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
by Mary Oliver
Van, you will remain in our hearts always. Thank you for contributing to the world.
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