The Gail S. Halvorsen “Candy Bomber” Veterans Center

Orem VA Clinic is now called the “Candy Bomber” Veterans Center

In May of 2022, the United States House of Representatives passed Congressman Curtis and Senator Lee’s bill renaming the Orem VA Clinic to The Gail S. Halvorsen “Candy Bomber” Veterans Center.

The bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden in June of 2022.

In his letter to notify the family of the passing of this bill, Congressman Curtis says,

“Colonel Halvorsen’s unique bravery, sacrifice, and service exemplifies the best Utah and our nation have to offer.

The unveiling of the plaque in Colonel Halvorsen’s honor

The “Candy Bomber” Veterans Center was dedicated on Monday, November 21st, 2022.

 

Members of the Halvorsen family in attendance

The unveiled plaque reads:

This Veterans Center is dedicated to the memory of Colonel Gail Seymour “Hal” Halvorsen, U.S. Air Force. (October 10, 1920 – February 16, 2022)

Halvorsen, from Salt Lake City, Utah, earned the name “The Candy Bomber” by realizing his vision of dropping more than 23 tons of candy to starving German children during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949. This mission, called “Operation Little Vittles,” turned the hearts and minds of Berliners causing more Germans to move west for assistance and freedom and had a role in halting Russian expansion. He flew more than 8,000 hours in a praiseworthy career which spanned from 1944 – 1974. This dedication serves to continue Col. Halvorsen’s mission to share the values that have led his life, “… gratitude, hope, service before self, and the power of little things adding up to big things,” and as a reminder of the selfless service embodied by the Utahns who bring their noble skills to uncommon missions in service to their Nation.

In attendance at the ceremony were military government leaders as well as several of Colonel Halvorsen’s family members. The Program featured Halvorsen’s daughter, Marilyn Sorensen, who received the unveiled plaque in the family’s honor.

Marilyn Sorensen, Colonel Halvorsen’s daughterShe said,

“With the naming of this veteran center today, we as the Halvorsen family hope that our father’s legacy will live on and he will inspire others still to remember the simple principles of love of freedom, love of nation and love for our fellow man.”

 

Words of Recognition and a Continuing Legacy

Also featured on the program was a pre-recorded video sent from Senator Lee, as he was unable to attend in person. In the video, Lee says that Halvorsen represents the best of Utah, and that he brought light in times of darkness and great despair.

He expresses his hope that “by remembering the life and legacy of Colonel Halvorsen, we can all be a little kinder, a little more compassionate, and that we might be able to work together to lift up those in need.”

Program outlining the day’s events

 

The “Candy Bomber” Veterans Center is planning to do just that. Their mission, as posted on their website, is: We offer confidential help for Veterans, service members, and their families at no cost in a non-medical setting. Our services include counseling for needs such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the psychological effects of military sexual trauma (MST).

For more information, please see this news article published in the Daily Herald, Nov. 22, 2022.

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