TREMONTON – Gail Halverson will be honored for his 100th birthday on Monday Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. at Midland Square in Tremonton, located on the corner of Main Street and 100 West. The Tremonton City Arts Council and Parks and Recreation’s Departments have commissioned a mural to honor Halverson, most widely-known as the “Candy Bomber.”
The mural will be located at 105 West Main near Midland Square and will be 26 x 75 feet.
Shawn Warnke, Tremonton City manager, said Halverson lived in the area and graduated from Bear River High School.
“The city is having a mural painted that depicts his lifetime,” he said. “We would have had Jason (Neesen) do it, but he is still busy working on the Grand Entry at the Fairgrounds.”
The City engaged another muralist, Erik Burke from Reno, Nevada. He is an international muralist who’s works span the globe.
“We had his proposal and information from another project,” said Zach Lafevre, the recreation director for the city. “When it came time for this one we reached out to Erik. His schedule freed up, so he was selected.”
Burke is supposed to have the mural finished by Oct.12, or if it’s not finished it should be close.
“We don’t want a lot of people there, we are trying to keep to under 200,” he said.” Because of his age and out of respect for the family we don’t want to put anyone, especially them, at risk.”
Halverson is currently living in a Provo assisted living facility.
News media will be able to attend and share the event.
“We want this to be the featured mural for the city,” Lefevre said. “Gail Halverson Education Foundation is also working on the event.”
Lafevre said there are a lot places having events celebrating Halverson’s birthday, even one in Germany.
Halverson was a pilot for the United States Air Force and flew cargo planes while stationed in Germany as part of Berlin Airlift. The operation dropped 2.3 million tons food and supplies for people in West Germany in 1945 after WWII.
Halverson, without authorization, began dropping candy attached to little parachutes to children in West Berlin separated by barbed wire fences. The operation grew and became known as operation “Little Vittles,” and he became known as the “Candy Bomber.”
He gained support for his efforts back home in America. Candy and little parachutes began to flood the German airbase. Halverson became a national hero and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, among a host of other awards and honors.
Tremonton City started having murals painted on buildings over 15 years ago, but pushing it more over the last six years. The murals have brought a lot of attention to the city and they have been featured in several publications.
The Box Elder County city has not eased up on the murals. It is a growing collection of life and history of the area. Murals depicting the Golden Spike, the 1920 Volunteer Fire Department and an old time rodeo with cars parked around the arena are just a few of the huge artworks that adorn buildings in the city.