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Wed, Oct. 16

Wildlife groups organize huge benefit for families of Yarnell 19

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. - Tomorrow, a coalition of wildlife conservation groups, including the Mule Deer Foundation, Arizona Elk Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, Trout Unlimited, Arizona Game and Fish, Arizona Deer Foundation, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Safari Club International Arizona Chapter, and other partners have gathered an incredible and international array of raffle and auction items and planned a benefit banquet for the families of 19 Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots who died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire June 30. All proceeds will be distributed to charities providing direct payment to the families.

The fundraiser, from 5-10 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, is a banquet limited to 800 people accompanied by a live, online and phone auction, along with silent auctions and raffles.

"In a short time, we have received many outstanding donations from individuals and organizations from around the world," said Daryl Polland, president of Timber Creek Art and chair of the Mule Deer Foundation's Prescott Chapter.

These include hunting and fishing trips, vacation packages, guns and archery equipment, hunting and fishing gear, boats and kayaks, wildlife prints, sculptures, home decor, airline tickets, river trips, ski passes, use of a condo or timeshare and more.

The online list (not yet complete) of raffle and auction prizes is mind-boggling. For example, there is an African safari, an Argentinian dove hunt, a roe deer hunt in Spain, an Alaskan salmon fishing trip, a week on a 60-foot houseboat on Lake Powell, Colorado River rafting trips, a 5-day horsepack into the Canadian wilderness, a mountain bike, taxidermy shoulder mount for elk, deer or antelope, and autographed guitars by Luke Bryan and Justin Moore.

"Everyone has something to offer and no offering is too small," Polland said. "We need donations of products or services and cash for the families left behind and to underwrite event expenses, volunteers to assist with planning and working the event-100 that night alone, and networking to share this information with family, friends, vendors, customers, wildlife chapters, fire departments and local businesses."

All donations are tax deductible to the 501(c)3 organization with Tax ID number 58-2038562. Banquet co-chairs Steve Sams and Dan Pederson ask that people contact them about donating items. Information is available at: www.yarnell19banquet.com or www.facebook.com/HotshotBenefitBanquet.

Banquet tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table for eight. Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.com/event/7651374467/efbevent.

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