By Bettyanne Bruin
PROVO – “Smile and the world smiles with you,” is what Gail Halvorsen — also known as the Candy Bomber — is all about. Because of the lives he changed for good, Halvorsen’s famous smile is constant and contagious.
Born in rural Utah, Mr. Halvorsen joined the Civil Air Patrol in 1941, at the age of 21. He joined the U.S. Army Air Forces, where he was a pilot and eventually formed “Operation Little Vittles,” to raise morale among the German children. Dropping over 23 tons of candy on Berlin, he was given the name “Candy Bomber,” a name that has made him a household hero ever since.
Mr. Halvorsen is now 96 years old and is a resident at Courtyard at Jamestown. An interest generated by the Spanish Fork Civil Air Patrol continues to grow to fund a museum in his honor. This is in conjunction with a much-needed new hangar. Halvorsen claims his legacy of tossing candy to children would have never happened had he not joined the Civil Air Patrol first.
Money will also go to help support Utah’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in hopes of encouraging more youth, like Halvorsen to join this dedicated group of Civil Air Patrol pilots that perform searches by air for recovery or rescue operations.
The Candy Bomber Gala will be held September 22, at 6 p.m. at Courtyard at Jamestown (3352 N. 100 East, Provo) and consists of a reception, silent and live auctions, a formal dinner and entertainment. Tickets start at $100 per individual or various levels of sponsorship at $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $4,000, and $5,000.
The evening will include a book signing by Gail Halvorsen, live music, special guests, and an auction.
Enthusiastic sponsors have already joined together in support of this event.
Bettyanne Bruin has a personal interest in this fundraiser as it was her son-in-law and two grandchildren that were recovered by the Civil Air Patrol after a two-day search in February 2017. “They risked everything they had to give us closure. Without their dedication, our nearly impossible daily task of healing would be unbearable. My daughter and her family are forever grateful for the Civil Air Patrol.”