It was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. Following the 1961 failed Bay of Pigs invasion Cuba's Fidel Castro was looking for ways to defend his island nation from what he perceived to be a U.S. attack. Consequently Castro approved Nikita Khrushchev's plan to place Soviet missiles on the Cuban island.
On October 22, 1962 when aerial reconnaissance photographs revealed Soviet missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy imposed a naval quarantine around Cuba and demanded that the Soviets remove their offensive weapons from Cuba. Pedas was caught up in the 13-day crisis between the world's two super powers.
The President raised military readiness to DEFCON 2 thus preventing Pedas's discharge from the Air Force. Pedas surrenderd his discharge papers and was reassigned to an anticipated Cuban invasion. Fortunately President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev negotiated a truce and George returned to Farrell to pursue his college education at Youngstown State University.
Epilogue: In 1997 George Pedas, sailed the Mediterranean aboard the Stella Solaris with Sergie Khrushchev (the son of Nikita Khrushchev). They reflected on the events of those days that brought the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. (By the way, Sergei endorses the film Thirteen Days released in February 2001 as an accurate portrayal of the drama played out between the two superpowers - the Soviet Union headed by his father Nikita Kkrushchev and President John F. Kennedy.)
Farrell, a city in northwestern Pennsylvania, in Mercer county, is 69 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. It was incorporated in 1901 as the borough of South Sharon but was renamed in 1912 for James A. Farrell, who was then president of the United States Steel Corporation.
My father, Efstathios Tsimpidis (Steve Pedas), a shepherd from southern Greece immigrated to the United States to earn money for his sisters' dowries. He settled in western Pennsylvania instead of Illinois because he "wanted to be closer to Greece"
He worked for a short time at the Colonial Market and at the Sharon Steel plant. He borrowed money to open up The Broadway Cash Market at 745 Broadway Street, Farrell, Pennsylvania.
My mother, Angeliki Havas (Angeline Pedas), was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania in 1917 where her father Georgios, a Greek immigrant from the island of Limnos, worked in the steel mill. At age three her Mother, Mercicna Cacalis Havas, died - a victim of the devastating influenza epidemic of 1918. (there was no vaccine). Unable to find anyone to care for his young daughters my grandfather returned to Greece where he remarried. My Mom grew up on the Aegean Island of Limnos. She returned to the United States in 1938 and was married off to my father, Steve Pedas.
American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association
Education has always played a central role in Hellenic culture. The very concept of higher education can trace its roots back to Ancient Greece. Today, the Ahepa works hard to keep this tradition alive with thousands of scholarships on the local and regional level and through Ahepa's national Educational Foundation.
Location: Sharon-Farrell, PA
Chapter President: Allan Rummel
Contact: Chapter Secretary: George Pedas
Address: 2031 Buckeye Drive
City, State: Sharpsville, PA 16150
Work Telephone: 724.346.6585
This chapter is part of District 11