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There will be swag

The Fallen Outdoors' 3rd Annual Banquet is Saturday

The Fallen Outdoors founder and president Eric Bakken and Washington State team lead Isaac Prince on a fishing trip together. Photo courtesy The Fallen Outdoors

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There will be free swag, lots of swag, at The Fallen Outdoors' 3rd Annual Banquet Aug. 5. But that's really beside the point. The Fallen Outdoors (TFO) is a nonprofit organization that fosters veteran and servicemember support networks across the U.S. through hunting, fishing and camping excursions. This year's annual banquet is the Washington-based organization's biggest fundraiser of the year.

"Every bit of this event, from coming up with ideas to putting together the finished product, has been done by veterans and servicemembers," said Eric Bakken, founder and president of TFO. "This event sets the tone for the whole year. It dictates how many events we can plan and how many veterans we can help. It all comes down to this night."

TFO's 3rd Annual Banquet will be held at Tacoma's Landmark convention center. It'll include raffles, games, live and silent auctions, giveaways, dinner and dessert, and a full bar. There will also be keynote addresses from Bakken and local TFO member Joshua Goessens.

"Proceeds will go right back into supporting our mission here in Washington (state)," Bakken said.

With more than 21,000 members in the Pacific Northwest and 85,000 members across the U.S., TFO has become a powerhouse of veteran support and outreach since it was founded in 2009. Last year, the organization raised more than $60,000, or roughly three-fourths of its yearly budget, at the annual fundraiser.

One of the highlights of this year's banquet will be speeches by Goessens, an Army veteran who served nine years as an artilleryman before being medically retired because of a terminal illness, and his spouse's testimony.

"TFO has given me new life," Goessens said. "I was diagnosed with ALS in March 2015, and The Fallen Outdoors and the guys there have given me something to look forward to. They kept me from dwelling on it."

"I want people to hear Josh's amazing story," said Bakken. "People are going to see that the money, time, effort and blood, sweat and tears they donate go to help people like him."

Tickets for the 3rd Annual TFO Banquet can be purchased at To donate services or products to the event, contact Tim Adams at

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