Croatian-Americans of Gulf Coast welcome President of Croatia at Slavonian Lodge
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Friday was an exciting day as the City of Biloxi welcomed the President of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic.
After visiting Biloxi City Hall and eating lunch at Mary Mahoney’s, the president was greeted at the Slavonian Lodge by Croatian-Americans awaiting his arrival.
One of those Croatian-Americans was Carroll Kovacevich who said this day is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“This is the president of a country,” Kovacevich said. “This is pretty unique. We don’t get this opportunity often. Just think it’s a really special occasion.”
Croatians traveled to the Gulf Coast in the 1800s and were pioneers in the seafood industry and dominated the Gulf Coast for generations. An industry that still plays a major role in the Coast’s economy.
Kovacevich said his family was a big part of that.
“My grandfather was from Croatia,” he said. “We were always involved in the seafood industry. And the Croatian people actually helped build the seafood industry here on the coast.”
Another proud Croatian-American in attendance was Mayor Gilich’s sister, Andrea Gilich.
Gilich said her grandparents came here as fishermen as well. She says they taught her great values.
“They taught us al this work ethic and to succeed,” she said. “And we’re trying to pass it on to our children.”
The Croatian-American people were elated to see the leader of their ancestors’ homeland in the States, hoping he will return very soon.
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