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It was post-World War II. The Russians had seized control of East Berlin, Germany… and were systematically trying to starve West Berliners by cutting them off from food and supplies.

But the United States was not about allow the brutality of Russia to take any more West German lives, and began to fly food and supplies into West Berlin’s Tempelhoff airport. It was a daunting task, requiring round-the-clock flights.

Gail Halvorsen of Garland, Utah flew many of those flights, noticing the German children waving their gratitude to the supply planes from the end of the runway.

When he greeted them through the fence one day, he was impressed with how, despite their desperate circumstances, none of them had their hands out to beg, but rather, stood and smiled, thanking him profusely for bringing them what they needed to stay alive, and offering handshakes through the fence.

He offered the only treats he had. Two sticks of chewing gum.

They carefully received them, delicately removed the paper wrapping, and broke the sticks into as many pieces as they could to share with each child. When the gum ran out, they circulated the paper wrapper, and let each child smell the aroma of the gum.

That’s when Gail Halverson knew he had to do something. And what he did has reverberated through seven decades now, touching and inspiring the lives of countless people, past and present.

Bob Evans of FOX 13 News in Salt Lake City sat down in August of 2019 with the now-98 year old Gail Halvorsen for a 3 Questions interview.

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