Greek WWII veteran gifts €23 million to Hellenic Armed Forces

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A Greek WWII veteran and shipowner has made an incredible donation to the Hellenic Armed Forces totalling €23 million and gifting 60 landing craft.

Iakovos Tsounis is 97-years-old and declared that he wanted to leave life as he began it — barefoot.

The special and admirable Greek is a descendant of the heroes of the revolution of 1821. He himself fought at the age of 16 in the Greek-Italian War of 1940, thus being the youngest veteran of World War II.

The Greek veteran started as a customs broker in Piraeus. In 1966 he entered shipping as a shipowner, acquiring a total of 13 merchant ships and forming a large fortune. Tsounis also built a Museum, which is located next to his permanent residence on Kyprou Street, in Papagou.

Greek shipowner Iakovos Tsounis was presented with a ceremonial sword for his donation. Credit: Ministry of Defense

Tsounis received the Commemoration of the Star of Value and Honor in 2018 for his service and in April 2020, following the advice of Armed Forces and a proposal of the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, he was awarded the rank of reservist Major General.

Alternate Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis thanked Tsounis, calling him “a loyal, consistent contributor of the Greek Armed Forces throughout his life”.

“The youngest volunteer WWII veteran,” as ruling New Democracy parliament group representative Christos Boukoros said, “has astounded us by his move to donate his entire fortune to the Armed Forces while still alive, and gives us optimism at a time where the greater region of the Mediterranean is seeing a lot of turbulence.”

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