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Alamo helped build stadium seats

In 1969, church provided volunteers

Posted: September 25, 2008 9:39 p.m.
Updated: November 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

In 1969, young people from Tony Alamo’s compound assisted the JayCees in a project to build seats for the Canyon High School football field.

Alamo sent about 20 young men each day to help with excavation, masonry work and other construction duties throughout the two- to three-month-long project.

“Some had been on drugs or were hippies down in Hollywood, so they had channeled their fanaticism toward this organization instead,” said Charles Willett, the general contractor in charge of the job. “I thought it was a cult at the time, but I figured it was better for kids to be mixed up with a cult than mixed up with drugs.”

Willett and his wife, Pat, were members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce at the time, so both had a lot of interaction with the men and even attended one of Alamo’s services.

Pat suspects that the men volunteered to help with the project to help Alamo make a better impression on the community.

“The (Alamo) Foundation was having a hard time with their neighbors at the time, and I think this was Tony and Sue’s way of getting some good press for community service,” Pat Willett said.

Or maybe the young men were just hungry.

“We were told by some of the volunteers that they came to us so they could get another meal — the Foundation only fed them twice a day,” she said.

Alamo was convicted of tax-related charges in 1994 and served four years in prison.

Prosecutors in the tax case argued before sentencing that Alamo was a flight risk and a polygamist who preyed on married women and girls in his congregation.

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