From humble beginning rose Alex Spanos, now a corporate giant who gives away millions of dollars per year to deserving causes.
After high school, Spanos joined the U.S. Army Air Force. He was honorably discharged in 1946. In 1948, he married Faye Papakalis. He was working at his father's bakery, making only $40 per week. In 1951, he told his father that he couldn't live on $40 per week and asked for a raise. Spanos was denied, so he quit. He says that his father's denial of a raise was the biggest motivating factor in his life.
Spanos bought an old truck and began selling lunches to migrant farmers. Spanos and Faye worked seven days a week. From his savings, Spanos began to invest in real estate. Later on, Spanos turned to construction, and became a giant in the construction and developing industry. Spanos is one of the top builder's in the nation. In 1984, Spanos purchased the NFL team, The San Diego Chargers.
Family has always been most important to Spanos. Spanos and Faye had four children, who help run the families' multiple companies. Spanos is also a philanthropist, serving many community organizations including Eisenhower Medical Center, The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and the United Service Organization (USO). He has also funded scholarships, held benefits (some bringing in a million dollars for children's hospitals), and contributed to victims of natural disasters. But Spanos goes above and beyond all that. In 1994, he personally pledged to revive the local YMCA that announced the closure of its facilities due to debts and lack of funds (it's now thriving once again); in 1995, he sent his personal airplane to South Carolina to bring two little boys who had been abducted and missing for a few months back home to Tracy, California; in 1996, he came to the rescue of a Stockton, California woman who was stranded in a Cambodian hospital after being badly burned in an accident while serving as a volunteer teacher. After learning that the woman had no way to come home in order to receive proper medical care, he sent his private jet to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to bring her home.
All of the awards and honors Spanos has received are too numerous to list. Highlights include Stocktonian of the Year, 1980; KCCH by the Scottish Rite, 1981; Horatio Alger Award, 1982; Aristotelian Award Order of AHEPA, 1984; Ellis Island Medal of Honor, 1986; Boy Scouts Man of the Year, San Joaquin Chapter, 1987; Golden Achievement Award, San Diego Boys and Girls Club, 1995.
Spanos was initiated into Stockton Chapter DeMolay in Stockton, California, in 1940. Spanos received his Masonic 33rd Degree at the San Francisco Scottish Rite Cahedreal in 1195. He also belongs to the Ben Ali Shrine in Sacramento, California. Spanos received the Legion of Honor in 1996. Spanos was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on June 13, 1997.
"Family and country mean everything to me. A person is taught values such as these during the early years of growing up, and I am tremendously grateful to DeMolay for what I have learned and treasured all my life. "