History of the National Capital Pond

During the latter part of 1947, a number of Ganders, members of the Chesapeake Pond (Baltimore, Maryland), but domiciled in Washington, D.C., believed that due to the increase in fire insurance representatives in the National Capital, a local Pond should be established

Through the untiring efforts of Maurice May, Past Most Loyal Gander, and Bob Wiseman, Wielder of the Goose Quill, both of the Chesapeake Pond, and with the whole hearted endorsement of the Ganders of the Chesapeake Pond, a preliminary meeting was finally arranged at the Continental Hotel on April 9, 1948.  Fifteen Ganders attended the meeting and with Maurice May appointed Chairman, organized the National Capital Pond and elected the following officers:

Robert L. Wiseman Most Loyal Gander
Russell K. Davis, Jr. Supervisor of the Flock
C. Norman Dorphley Custodian of the Goslings
Gordon C. Piercy Guardian of the Pond
Fred R. Bunting Keeper of the Golden Goose Egg
Leslie H. Durloo Wielder of the Goose Quill

The National Capital Pond Charter given under the hand and seal the Grand Nest Officers and dated May 17, 1948, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin listed the names of seventy-two Ganders as Charter Members of the National Capital Pond.

In 1951, as a very young Pond, we were privileged to have one of our own Ganders, PMLG Robert L. Wiseman, elected to the Grand Nest.  Bob served in all the Offices of the Grand Nest and was the Most Loyal Grand Gander in 1956.  Our Pond is very proud of Bob who was a Past Most Loyal Grand Gander (1956), Life Member (1956), and a Fifty Year Member (1992).  Bob took his long last flight on August 18, 1994.

In 1953, our Pond published our first formal newsletter, named the “Honker” with PMLG James A. Wiley as the first editor.  Over the years our newsletter has won several awards presented by the Grand Nest Pond Publications Committee, and continues to be a vital communications link with all our members. Over the last 25 years the Honker editors have been PMLG Ken Morris, PMLG Tom Cattell, PMLG Rene Carter and our current editor is Donna Digman.

Normally, the 49th Grand Nest Meeting would have been held in Washington, D.C., and the National Capital Pond would have been the host pond, with our own Robert L. Wiseman, The Most Loyal Grand Gander presiding.  However, since 1956 was the 50th anniversary of the founding of Blue Goose, it was right and proper that this important milestone should be commemorated on the banks of the Wisconsin Pond, the Home Nest.  The National Capital Pond regretted not being the Host Pond, but cheerfully acknowledged its obligations to the Wisconsin Home Nest in assuming responsibility of the Grand Nest Meeting.

Since our inception, the National Capital Pond has been broad in charity.  Over the years, we have supported various charities, and in 1972 we elected to make Children’s Hospital our primary recipient.  Each year we hold a charity luncheon with a Washington Redskin as our guest speaker.  Since 1972 we have donated over $ 300,000 to Children’s Hospital (through 2011).  On September 16, 1993, the Pond voted to change the name of this event to The John Brenner Annual Charity Luncheon in honor of John Brenner, PMLG, who initiated our Pond’s first organized charities while serving as Most Loyal Gander in 1957. In 2011 the Washington DC Firefighters Burn Foundation was added as a second recipient to share donations from the Annual Charity Luncheon. The Pond also gives $500 donations to four charities as may be nominated by individual pond ganders and screened/approved by the Charity Committee.

In 1980, our Pond was again honored when PMLG David E. White was elected to the Grand Nest.  Dave moved up through the chairs of the Grand Nest officers and was the Most Loyal Grand Gander in 1985.  The 79th Grand Nest Convention was held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

In 1988, the National Capital Pond Ritual Team conducted the Model Initiation at the 82nd Grand Nest Convention hosted by the Ontario Pond in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In August 1995, Barry L. Snyder was elected to the Grand Nest at the 89th Grand Nest Convention in Rye, New York. Barry proceeded his way through the Grand Nest Officer positions and in August 1999, in Seattle, Washington, became the Most Loyal Grand Gander.  For the third time since the commencement of the Pond, National Capital Pond was privileged to host the 94th Grand Nest Convention in the year 2000.  This event was held at the Hyatt Hotel in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.

August 6-10, 2000, the 94th Grand Nest Convention was held in that great American city growing and gleaming on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.  A lively and diverse metropolis in the midst of a renaissance yet generally endowed with history and graciously blessed with charm.  Our motto was “Baltimore Carousin’ in 2000”.

In 2008, the National Capital Pond Ritual Team conducted the Model Initiation at the 101st Grand Nest Convention hosted by the Virginia Pond in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The National Capital Pond Ritual Team will also conduct the Model Initiation at the Grand Nest Convention hosted by the Utah Pond in 2014 in Salt Lake City.

PMLG William G. Olson was elected to the position of Most Loyal Gander of HOBGI at the 2014 Grand Nest Convention in Salt Lake City. At the end of his tenure as MLGG in July 2015, the National Capital Pond and HOBGI Eastern Region will host the 109th Grand Nest Convention at Baltimore Inner Harbor. This will be the fourth Grand nest Convention hosted by the National Capital Pond over the past 60 years.

The National Capital Pond successfully hosted the 2015 Grand Nest Convention at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel inner Harbor Baltimore Maryland. Three months before the convention the Freddie Gray riots occurred in Baltimore city. We were uncertain of what our attendance would be with the bad press. It turned out to be a great five-day convention with 275 men women and children attending and a grand time was had by all. Please refer to the Grand Nest Convention 2015 tab for lots of photographs and further details. Thank you to the convention chairmen Michelle Fitzwater, Gene Newman, Jim Kern and the members of the committee.

After hosting the 2015 convention the National Capital Pond settled into business as usual and finalized the accounting of convention and Pond expenses with KGGE Barb Markuski and PMLG Jim Kern auditing. We were able to pay for all the convention expenses with a surplus that was used to help fund the Hartford Pond convention 2020 and return money to the treasury of the National Capital Pond.

The MLG of the National Capital Pond 2015-16 was Patrick Bergin. The events that were held included the Crab feast, Rush party, John Brenner Holiday Party, March Madness/Casino Night and the Annual Buster Levine Golf Outing. 2015- Charities – Children’s National Medical Center, DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, Cystic fibrosis, Friends of Fort McHenry, Disabled American Veterans, National Fallen Firefighters Association. The National Capital Pond lifetime achievement award was given to Jim Lippert of the Minkoff Company.

The MLG in 2016 – 17 was Wendy Fletcher. She came into the office with new ideas and a lot of energy. Her number one goal serving as MLG was to increase the National Capital Pond ganders time given back to charities instead of just giving a monetary donation. She wanted to concentrate on small local charities. Along with the other annual charities and quarterly charity $500 payments, the pond did volunteer will time at Second Chance and the Maryland Food Bank. We also had an April social event at Laurel Racetrack where money was raised for the Brooklyn O/Malley Boys and Girls Club. Wendy represented the National Capital Pond at the 2016 convention in St. Louis along with PMLG Gene Newman and PMLG Michelle Fitzwater. At the convention the National Capital Pond was awarded the Community Service Award, the regional Best New Membership award and Barb Markuski was awarded Grand Nest Gander of the Year. The National Capital Pond lifetime achievement award was given to MLGG Randy Wilson

The MLG in 2017-18 was Barb Markuski. She came into the office with plenty of experience having served in all the officer’s chairs except (WGQ) and volunteering for every committee. The Southern Maryland Puddle became official in Jan 2017 with meetings to be held in the Chesapeake Beach, MD area. The founding officers of the SMP, John Ellis, Michelle Fitzwater, Jim Dorsey, and Victoria Ronan. The National Capital Pond held meetings and events at several different locations during the year to see how the membership would respond. The SOF Jon Fregger organized some good educational speaker meetings including an expert using drones for insurance claim inspections.  The National Capital Pond continued to support the annual charities and the quarterly charities. A public service dinner fundraiser for the homeless was held at the Lighthouse Bistro in Annapolis Maryland. A spring fundraiser was held at the Kurtz Beach Club and raised money for the local charity, Helping up Mission. The 2017 Grand Nest Convention was held in Savannah Georgia. The National Capital Pond delegates were GOP Brian lease and PMLGG Bill Olson. We received Grand Nest awards for membership and community service. The National Capital Pond lifetime achievement award was given to PMLG Gene Newman.

The MLG in 2018-19 was Jon Fregger. He came into the office with leadership experience and a desire to change the way we operate with our officers and committee chairman roles and to make the meetings more enjoyable for all members. During this year the pond increased the amount of the quarterly charity donations from $500 to $1000. The charities that received a $1000 donation this year were Catch A Lift, Leslie’s Week, The Blue Valor Foundation, and Ellie’s Bus. We also revised and updated the National Capital Pond operating procedures that had been adopted in 2001. Over the past four years the National Capital Pond has had excellent leadership, participation and growth with new members. We showed the diversity of the National Capital Pond membership with the various meetings and events that were held. We had the Membership Rush parties, initiations, volunteer service projects, Annual John Brenner Charity luncheon, Casino night fundraiser, Buster Levine Memorial Golf outing. The 2018 Grand Nest Convention was held in Edmonton Alberta. The delegates were MLG Jon Fregger and GOP Trish Turner. For the third year in a row the National Capital Pond was awarded a regional membership award. The National Capital Pond lifetime achievement award was given to PMLGG Bill Olson.

The MLG for the 2019/2020 National Capital Pond year was Brian Lease. As we all know too well now, this would end up being a year that changed suddenly on March 5, 2020, when the State of Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, declared a State of Emergency and Catastrophic Health Emergency throughout the state of Maryland due to the COVID-19 pandemic that overtook the United States and the entire world. This declaration basically closed the state Maryland outside of essential business only.

Prior to the pandemic the National Capital Pond held the regular September business meeting to kick off the year with thirteen in attendance. In October, the Pond enjoyed a Day of Service at the Second Chance in Baltimore. Second Chance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides people, materials, and the environment with a second chance, and with 14 in attendance the Pond deconstructed materials for sale by the organization. Additionally, in October the Pond awarded the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation with our Quarter 1 donation of $1,000. In November, the Pond held its Rush Part at Wonderfly Arena, which also doubled as a farewell party for PMLGG Bill Olson. There were 62 in attendance to learn about the organization and to send Bill off to Hawaii with a fun night of games and speeches. The Pond gave Bill a watch as a parting gift from the flock. In December The Pond held our 48th Annual Holiday Charity Event which was completely reconstructed into a whole new evening event at The Hotel after many years of having a luncheon and party at Martin’s Crosswinds. The event was a great success and The Pond donated $2,500 each to For the Kids and Camp Inclusion for our Quarter 2 of the year. In January The Pond held our business and initiation meeting, with 42 in attendance initiating 14 new members. In addition, the Southern Maryland Puddle initiated 4 new members in January for a combined total of 18 new members. Unbeknownst to The Pond at the time, February would be our final in person event of the year, and The Pond enjoyed a lovey event at The Lighthouse Bistro in Annapolis, MD. There, in an effort toward homeless prevention, they train people in the culinary arts to overcome employment barriers with the opportunity to learn while developing a resume and earning a living wage.

All events from March through May, as well as our June golf outing, were at the time postponed or canceled due to the pandemic. Rich Batterton, COG at the time, was able to virtually (via email) initiate 21 new members, 7 for the Pond and 14 for the Puddle.

The National Capital Pond will continue to grow in strength and spirit. Our progress will be limited only by the ability of our members to carry out the object of the Order: Character, Charity and Fellowship.

National Capital Pond Historian:  Bill Olson


Patrick Bergmann