Jim Flermoen and Eric Anderson are MN Army National Guard veterans who deployed to Iraq in 2006. During their deployment, both vets were escorting a convoy in route to Baghdad when struck by an IED. Jim was severely injured resulting in him being medically evac-d to Germany and onto Brook Army Medical Center. Since the explosion, both veterans have suffered from TBI and PTSD.
Sometime later Jim met Joe Scavo, a veteran who served eight years in the US Army (infantry) with two deployments. All three of them experienced life-changing events that have affected them emotionally and physically. They found themselves conflicted daily with the changes that challenged their personal and professional lives. While trying to pick up the pieces, Jim found peace fishing in the great outdoors which became a way to reset his mind and regain a passion for life. Joe and Eric were also struggling with their battles and searching for help. Jim started taking them fishing, where they gained serenity and brotherhood accompanying each other. Jim, Joe, and Eric wanted to share their positive experience with other veterans who are also suffering from similar backgrounds.
Their traumas provided them with a sense of responsibility to never forget their fellow soldier and military children. With their passion came the decision to start a non-profit called Freedom Fishing Foundation to introduce and provide an experience that would benefit others and bring together the veteran community.