The Los Angeles Chargers posthumously nominate Alex G. Spanos, the team's owner from 1984 to 2018, for the 2018 Salute to Service Award. This nomination is both in recognition of his years of service in the United States Air Force and the Spanos family's decades-long support to our nation's military.
"My grandfather was very proud to serve in the Air Force during WWII and has always been grateful for all those who protect our freedom," mentioned Chargers President of Business Operations, A.G. Spanos. "Some of my earliest memories of attending Chargers games are seeing my grandfather host uniformed military personnel and showing appreciation for their service. It pleases me to know how that part of my grandfather's legacy has grown, and remains core to the Chargers organization as we continue to salute our Armed Forces and the brave men and women who defend our country."
Alex Spanos grew up in Stockton, California and attended California Polytechnic School until 1942 when he chose to join the Army Air Force. He started training as a pilot before making the change to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. In 1951, when his military service had come to an end, Spanos borrowed $800 from a local banker to buy a truck to assist in selling sandwiches to field hands in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1960, after making his first million dollars and investing in real estate, he founded A.G. Spanos Companies, which by 1977 had become the largest apartment builder in the United States. Firmly established in the business world, Spanos began his pursuit of a childhood dream – owning a professional sports team.
With football his top passion, on August 1, 1984, dreams became reality when Spanos purchased the Chargers. From day one, military support became a calling card of the Spanos family and Chargers organization. Whether it was raising awareness through in-game recognitions, supporting military families through complimentary ticket donations, increasing service member morale by hosting team practices at multiple military bases (including a practice on board the USS Ronald Reagan) or providing funding and new fitness equipment for homeless veterans, the Chargers organization's embrace of the military community started at the top.
Spanos, who developed a memorable tap dance routine with legendary entertainer Bob Hope, performed at charity events around the country, many in support of our armed forces. His relationship with Hope and the USO undoubtedly had a great deal to do with the team raising $4.5 million dollars for the USO's national 1991 Golden Anniversary Salute Luncheon, marking at the time, the most successful fundraising event in their history.
The Chargers are proud to nominate Alex G. Spanos, the team's owner from 1984 to 2018, for the 2018 Salute to Service Award in recognition of his years of service in the United States Air Force and the Spanos family's decades-long support to our nation's military.
"The Chargers organization has tremendous respect, admiration, and appreciation for all of the Armed Forces, and much of that stems from my grandfather," added Chargers President of Football Operations, John Spanos. "He valued his time with the Air Force, and after his service, always made a point to support the military. Some of our most special team outings have been the practices we've held on military bases. My grandfather lived the American dream as the son of Greek immigrants who came from very humble beginnings. He always had great love for this country, and especially for those who risk their lives to protect it."
Although Alex Spanos passed away on October 9, 2018, his legacy of giving back to the armed forces lives on through the ongoing work of his family and the Chargers organization.
The Chargers will host a series of military appreciation events leading up to their Salute to Service game on Sunday, Nov. 18 vs. the Denver Broncos. On Friday, Nov. 9, the Chargers are inviting families from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to Hoag Performance Center. After practice, the families will be paired up with a Chargers player and place a sticker with the initials of their fallen loved one on the back of that player's helmet for him to wear during the games on Nov. 11 and Nov. 18.
The team is also are proud to once again partner with Pros vs. GI Joes for their annual Salute to Service game-a-thon on Friday, Nov. 9. This year, the nonprofit will provide opportunities for veterans from the Veterans Hospital of Long Beach to compete against players in video games such as Call of Duty, Fortnite and Madden.
This season, the team also started Boots & Bolts, a program which brings active duty military members and veterans to Hoag Performance Center on Fridays for a behind-the-scenes facility tour and post-practice meet and greet with players on the practice field. And each week of the regular season, the Chargers nominate a Military Hero of the Week presented by California Resources Corporation to acknowledge the heroic efforts and sacrifices made by our U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The honored service member will receive four tickets to a Chargers home game where he or she will be recognized on-field. Click here to nominate a hero.
After a successful debut last year, the NFL's #SaluteToService social media campaign launched on November 1. The league will donate $5 to their nonprofit partners for every use of #SaluteToService until November 19. On Veteran's Day, the amount donated by the NFL will rise to $25 for each use of the designated hashtag.