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Celebrating The Life And Legacy Of Lou Poulos

Rep. Ed Pastor

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Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing the life and achievements of Mr. Lou Poulos, who recently passed away. As a husband and father, as a friend and businessman, as a community trade association and church leader, Lou was an extraordinary man who cared deeply for his country, state and city and the industry that he was instrumental in shaping for half a century.

The sixth of nine children to Greek immigrants, Lou contracted polio at the age of 2. Although he received treatment as a child, Lou never regained full use of his legs and walked with crutches or used a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. Lou's condition did not detract from his steadfast determination to live a life on his terms, not on the terms of the disease that damaged his legs. In 1929, his father and a partner started the wholesale Farmers Produce Company. Later at the end of Prohibition in 1933, the elder Poulos acquired one of the first wholesale liquor licenses in Arizona. Lou got his first taste of the business by helping his father in the Miami, Arizona office by taking orders for liquor over the phone.

Lou was widely recognized and respected in the liquor industry and the Arizona community as a whole from the time he was a young man. But he really came into his own when he developed a chain of drive-through liquor stores, which were launched from his father's business. Farmers Liquors was the first retail liquor chain in the state, with some 15 locations through the Valley of the Sun. Under Lou's management, Farmers Liquors prospered. While he was building his own business, he was mindful of the importance of all the tiers of the industry and the impact of political legislation and the people who made those decisions.

Early on, Lou became active in the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association (ALBA), founded in 1936 to protect liquor licenses against unfair legislation. He was largely responsible for putting teeth into ALBA and working to fulfill the mission of the organization. Serving on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for decades, Lou was also the association's longest serving treasurer--45 years.

Lou Poulos was a very generous man, not only in financial terms, but also in lending his time, wisdom and expertise to individuals and worthy causes that sought his assistance. Lou was not one to make his contributions known publically. According to Georgia, his wife of 57 years, Lou was especially supportive of organizations that were involved in helping those afflicted with infantile paralysis (polio), the disease he contracted at age two. He was a lifetime contributor to his church in Phoenix, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral and its affiliated organizations, and an active volunteer during the annual Greek Festival, which observed its 51st year in 2011. Lou also donated financially to associations dedicated to cancer and heart disease research, as well as the Wounded Warrior Project, among other veteran's organizations. In every respect, Lou Poulos was a good man and a good citizen who, without seeking fanfare or plaudits, quietly enriched the fabric of our great and unique nation.

In considering all of these achievements, I ask that you join me in recognizing Mr. Lou Poulos for his courageous overcoming of adversity, his many contributions to the progress and growth of Arizona and his prominent and positive influence on the state's liquor industry.