Tributes pour in after death of ‘Candy Bomber’ Gail Halvorsen
SPANISH FORK, Utah — The tributes are pouring in for the late Col. Gail Halvorsen, affectionately known as the Berlin “Candy Bomber.”
James Stewart, the executive director of Halvorsen’s Aviation Education Foundation, said he felt blessed to serve alongside Halvorsen since 2007. He said Halvorsen was a light to so many people and that continued through his final moments.
“I really felt like a relationship with Gail, like a second father.”
Millions like Stewart heard the story of the beloved “Candy Bomber” dropping tiny parachutes of food to save millions of Germans from starving in 1948.
“That says something about America,” Stewart said. “That we helped a former enemy get back on their feet.”
The experience affected Halvorsen for the rest of his life, and he constantly gave back through his Aviation Education Foundation.
“He was a founding member of the board of directors and we were just proud to be able to work together,” said Stewart.
Halvorsen drew people in, but he was more interested in learning about others.
“They wanted to hear about Gail and he (said), ‘No I’m boring. I want to hear about you.’”
He never took his platform for granted and in his final days, relayed a simple message.
This video was posted to the foundation’s Facebook page:
“Hello friend. Have an attitude of gratitude. You’ll be OK.”
Stewart vows to keep his legacy alive.
“It falls to us to keep this story going,” he said. “Let’s do it!”
The foundation is raising money right now to open a new heritage center in Halvorsen’s honor at the Spanish Fork Airport.
I will miss my friend. A beautiful reminder that kindness and goodness can win, even in the most trying times. https://t.co/P7lEOPcp4K
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) February 17, 2022
Col. Halvorsen, beloved "Candy Bomber," also served as asst. dean of student life at BYU.
“The greatest reward I received in that position was to come across students from a humble beginning or were feeling like they didn’t quite belong. I found my greatest joy in helping them." https://t.co/lZQdztDDTM
— BYU (@BYU) February 17, 2022
Colonel Halvorsen brought joy to children living in deplorable conditions. His sense of humanity and kindness brightened our world and he will be deeply missed. https://t.co/YC0hExb8Zf
— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) February 17, 2022
From Garland, Utah, to the skies over Berlin, ‘Candy Bomber’ Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen epitomized the defining characteristics of the Greatest Generation. May he ever remind us that hope always exists, even in our darkest hour. Rest in peace to one of the world’s finest men. https://t.co/0VZiZduzbe
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) February 17, 2022
Colonel Gail Halvorsen, the Candy Bomber 1920-2022 pic.twitter.com/tZKGrgaQzS
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) February 17, 2022
Gail Halvorsen embodied the ideals we should all strive for every day: Bravery, compassion, and service.
In the world's darkest hour, he inspired kindness and hope. And that is why he truly represented the best of America. We will miss you, Colonel.https://t.co/l7nl3NvXWZ
— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) February 17, 2022
Berlin's 'Candy Bomber' Col. Gail Halvorsen is a true American hero who gave hope to millions and exemplified the very best of Utah. My prayers are with the Halvorsen family today as we celebrate his lifelong legacy of service and compassion. https://t.co/DevmUPFosR
— Rep. Burgess Owens (@RepBurgessOwens) February 17, 2022
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