Fundrais­ing un­der­way for Halvorsen avi­a­tion cen­ter

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Ed Helmick

Avi­a­tion ed­u­ca­tion is an im­por­tant mis­sion of the Civil Air Pa­trol for se­nior and cadet mem­bers; the pa­trol also strives to serve as an ed­u­ca­tional re­source for our lo­cal com­mu­nity. The lo­cal CAP Squadron has pro­posed an 8,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity to be built at the Springville-Span­ish Fork Air­port. A non­profit foun­da­tion was es­tab­lished in Septem­ber of 2016 to fa­cil­i­tate fundrais­ing, con­struc­tion and man­age­ment of the cen­ter.

To honor a lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional hero, the fa­cil­ity will be called the Gail S. Halvorsen Avi­a­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter.

The Gail S. Halvorsen Avi­a­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter will be named in honor of the man who has come to be known as the “Ber­lin Candy Bomber.” Dur­ing the Ber­lin Block­ade Air Lift in 1948, he con­ceived the idea of drop­ping candy to the needy chil­dren of Ber­lin who were watch­ing the go­ings and com­ings of the air­planes bring­ing re­lief sup­plies to their starv­ing city. U.S. Army Air Corp “Op­er­a­tion Vittles” be­came “Op­er­a­tion Lit­tle Vittles” as Lieu­tenant Halvor­son and the crew of his C-54 (DC-4 in the civil­ian world) cargo plane dropped home­made para­chutes with candy. This per­sonal ges­ture of good­will was widely rec­og­nized and ul­ti­mately grew into a na­tional ef­fort to do­nate candy and make home­made para­chutes. By the end of the Ber­lin Air Lift, 23 tons of candy had been dropped us­ing 250,000 para­chutes by Halvorsen and his col­leagues.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter will be a beau­ti­ful ad­di­tion to the air­port and will fea­ture dis­plays and mem­o­ra­bilia de­scrib­ing Colonel Halvorsen’s re­mark­able ca­reer. Two large meet­ing rooms will be avail­able for use by com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions in ad­di­tion to the Civil Air Pa­trol to im­prove co­or­di­na­tion and en­hance lo­cal ca­pac­ity

for dis­as­ter re­sponse. Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math (STEM) pre­sen­ta­tions and re­sources will be avail­able for lo­cal school chil­dren and ed­u­ca­tors to pro­mote schol­ar­ship in these im­por­tant fields.

In the next 10 to 15 years, STEM jobs are pro­jected to grow at a rate four times faster than other fields. State Sen­a­tor Dei­dre Hen­der­son em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of this type of ed­u­ca­tional ini­tia­tive: “We need to be shift­ing more in the di­rec­tion of help­ing our kids un­der­stand and to get ex­cited about STEM jobs and ed­u­ca­tion.”

Gail Halvorsen re­tired from the U.S. Air Force in 1974 with the rank of colonel and served as the as­sis­tant dean of stu­dent life at Brigham Young Univer­sity for many years. At the age of 96, Col. Halvorsen con­tin­ues to be in­volved in hu­man­i­tar­ian and good­will ac­tiv­i­ties. He lives on a farm in Span­ish Fork dur­ing the warmer months.

The Gail S. Halvorsen Avi­a­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion would like to raise funds quickly and com­plete con­struc­tion while Gail is still with us. The foun­da­tion has de­vel­oped a video, es­tab­lished a Face­book page and ini­ti­ated an on­line pres­ence for those in­ter­ested in the project. This fa­cil­ity will be a great as­set for our com­mu­nity and your tax de­ductable do­na­tions will be ap­pre­ci­ated. On­line con­tri­bu­tions can be made at www.thecan­dy­bomber.org/do­nate.

To help this project move for­ward, the lo­cal CAP Squadron is look­ing for a vol­un­teer knowl­edge­able in web design to work on pro­mo­tional ef­forts. They also need a part-time vol­un­teer to work as a fundrais­ing coordinator for donor con­tri­bu­tions.

The lo­cal Civil Air Pa­trol Squadron is raising money to con­struct the Halvorsen Avi­a­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter at the Springville-Span­ish Fork Air­port. Above is a ren­der­ing of the build­ing, which would be named in honor of famed “Ber­lin Candy Bomber” Gail Halvorsen.

Col. Gail S. Halvorsen

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