Brian Sandford: Hats off to war hero who shaped our community

Hale Bennett’s remarkable life has been documented twice on the front page of the Nevada Appeal in the past year — once on the anniversary of D-Day last year and, sadly, a second time Friday to detail his passing.

Correspondent Sally Roberts wrote the anniversary story, and Hale’s wife, Kay, liked it enough that she called me the next day, inviting me to Silver Springs Airport to meet Hale. I accepted the invitation, but I wondered what I’d possibly say to someone who has achieved so much for our country.

I headed to Silver Springs on a hot July day, and Kay greeted me in front of their one-story house that offers impressive views of the mountains in the distance. She led me into the living room, where Hale was resting on a chair.

Hale retained an impressive figure and significant presence, but that’s not what ended up leaving the greatest impression. I shook his hand, and we talked for a while. Kay, a former Board of Supervisors and Carson-Tahoe board of trustees member about whom you’ve likely read plenty in these pages, brought iced tea and joined the chat.

Hale was willing to talk about his experiences, but he wasn’t a self-promoter. We didn’t discuss his time in World War II during the four-plus hours I spent with his wife and him, even though that was the indirect reason I was there.

Hale’s most striking characteristic at age 93 was that although his early legacy was shaped by war, he had an air of peaceful tranquility that could put those who encountered him at ease.

I casually knew Hale for approximately 1 percent of his life, but he had a much larger role in my life — and yours — through his military heroism and community involvement. We salute his service in this space, and if you attend his public memorial at 10 a.m. April 26 at Silver Springs Airport, I’ll see you there.

Editor Brian Sandford can be reached at


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