The Honorable Order of the Blue Goose, International is a fraternal organization of individuals who work in the insurance related industry.  As Ganders, we are members of Ponds located throughout the United States and Canada.  There is fellowship, education, charity, and leadership in our organization.  We invite you to learn more through our website.  You will find character, charity, and fellowship in abundance among a welcoming group of friends.  A place has been saved for you.  Please join us.    » More about us    » Find a Pond

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Grand Nest History 2020 – 2021

Posted by tmaloney on September 10, 2021
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Grand Nest Historian and PMLGG, John Bishop, has prepared our 2020-2021 History. 

Take a gander….  2020-2021 History

You can also find other History documents on our website Honorable Order of the Blue Goose, Intl. » Histories of the Grand Nest

Enjoy! 

 

Marketing Committee Report 2021

Posted by tmaloney on August 18, 2021
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This year’s Marketing Committee focused on one thing – how did Blue Goose respond to the Coronavirus
pandemic of 2020-2021?

We recognize the historical significance of documenting our activity during this unprecedented time period. We
hope the dedication and creativity you will read about on the following pages will be an inspiration to your Pond
and the future generations of Ganders.

Marketing committee report 2021

The Long Strange Trip of how the 2020 Convention became the 2021 Convention and finally the 2021 Days of Fellowship

Posted by tmaloney on April 04, 2021
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“Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime

Lately, it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been

(Jerry Garcia; Bob Weir; Phil Lesh)

The history of how the Hartford Convention took a long strange trip and shape-shifted from 2020 to 2021 and then into a Days of Fellowship is a saga that unfurled over six years of planning starts, a stop, a second start, a second stop, and an eventual reimagination.

Our convention committee started planning the 2020 convention in 2015, when I succeeded the National Capital Pond’s Bill Olson as a Grand Nest Officer for the Eastern Region. As 2015 slowly gave way to the years that followed, our team assembled an ambitious fun filled convention for 175- 200 Ganders and guests to be held at the Hartford Marriott in July 2020. A 60’s themed Welcome Party, live performances of the national anthems, remarks from Jim Calhoun, a golf tournament, a dinner cruise with a steel drum band, a trip to a vineyard, ballroom dancing with mimosas, a magician, a spouse program, a children’s program, a gala Banquet and Ball, a registration website, and corporate and individual sponsors were all set and ready to go. Decorations and goodie bags were ready. We were just four months away.

And then came along March 2020 and we all learned a new word – “Coronavirus”. As the virus spread, we started to see Blue Goose events cancelled on both sides of the border. We were first optimistic that things would be fine by the summer, but that turned out to be wishful thinking and we had to postpone the July 2020 convention and reschedule it for the following year.

That involved a lot of moving parts, as Blue Goose needed to move the Grapevine, TX Convention from 2021 to 2022 and the Whistler, BC Convention from 2022 to 2023. This required a lot of behind the scenes work, but we got all of our geese in a row and were thrilled to see all of the dominoes successfully fall into place.

We had to reschedule every single speaker, performer, and activity to move from 2020 to 2021, and miraculously we were able to do just that.

But as we entered late 2020 and early 2021, the public health picture was still bleak, and it was becoming clear that our vision of a large “conventional” convention at the Hartford Marriott for 175 people just wasn’t in the cards for a second consecutive year. So, we cancelled our Marriott contract as well as all our contracts with Tunxis Country Club for golf, two restaurants, two bands, a magician, Coach Calhoun, a dinner cruise, and a transportation company.

And now we’ve planned a third version of our summer get-together, albeit a slimmed down and very different version. It will be a two-day affair held live in Glastonbury with live streaming available to any member that would like to be a part of this historic event.

Some of the event will be familiar to you Convention veterans -you’ll see the delegate voting for, and the installation of the officers, charity presentations and an activity, and the Memorial Service. Some of the event will have a different look, like an afternoon visit to a winery and an outdoor socially distanced dinner.

None of this would have been possible without the best and hardest working Convention Committee in the 115 years of Blue Goose history. Thank you, Mark Angiletta, Kevin Brady, Jon Hale, Wendy Hubbard, Lisa Kane, Lori Kovanda, Bill Mullen, Bob Partridge, Paula Pelletier, Sue Rich, and Meeting Planner Extraordinaire Cheryl McShane.

I also want to thank my colleagues on the Grand Nest for their support, advice, understanding, flexibility and most of all, their friendship.

 

Dan Rich, Most Loyal Grand Gander

Edmonton Pond’s Virtual St. Patty’s Day Whisky Tasting

Posted by tmaloney on March 18, 2021
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I had a terrific time tonight visiting with the Edmonton Pond and joining their Virtual Whiskey Scotch Tasting. Our host was Steve Richmond of Vine Wine Merchants in Edmonton, and many of the 21 Ganders on-line were fortunate to have ordered a tasting kit with a wee nip of five whiskeys to sip, compare and contrast.
Steve was a real pro, and entertained us all night with awesome tidbits about the history of whiskey, aging, legal requirements on ingredients, percentage of alcohol, the different features of barley, corn, millet and rye, casks and barrels, Scotch vs. Bourbon vs. Whiskey vs. Rye vs Peated Whiskey, collectable whiskeys, and Provincial shipping policies. The man was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.
Seated in front of his store’s impressive “Wall of Whiskey”, he introduced the night’s five drinks – Jack Ryan 12 year old Irish Whiskey, Scotch Tullibardine Whiskey, a Dutch Millstone Rye Whiskey, a Bibb and Tucker Bourbon from the USA, and an Ardberg Single Malt Scotch Whiskey.
The good-natured banter before the presentation began made me nostalgic about all of the good times I’ve enjoyed with my Canadian friends, and how much I miss you all.
As Steve Richmond said when he finished up, someday “we’ll meet up again on the Whiskey Trail.”
I hope that trail brings us together again very soon.
Thank you Cori and everyone who worked so hard to put all of these moving parts together for tonight’s program.
Dan Rich

Continue reading…

Nova Scotia Pond Recognition Night

Posted by tmaloney on November 14, 2020
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After a long Covid break, the Nova Scotia Pond flocked together for an evening of fellowship and to recognize some of their long standing members on November 4, 2020.

Along with 10, 30, 40 and 50 year pins, they awarded plaques for 60 and 65 year memberships. Congratulations!

  • Michael Sangster – 10 year
  • Mike Sieber – 30 year
  • Peter Wolf – 30 year
  • Steve Conrod – 40 year
  • Frank Matheson – 50 year
  • Colin MacLeod – 60 year
  • Tony Hunter – 65 year

Blue Goose Holds Historic Virtual Convention Awards Night

Posted by tmaloney on September 07, 2020
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As so many aspects of our professional, personal, educational, and social lives have changed from the restrictions of COVID-19, Blue Goose saw the opportunity to adapt as we held a Virtual Convention and Awards Night on Tuesday August 25, 2020.

A summary of this event has been written by our very own PMLGG Dan Rich.

Congratulations to the Northern Michigan Puddle 2020 Scholarship Recipients!

Posted by tmaloney on August 08, 2020
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Various Ponds and Puddles of the Honorable Order of the Blue Goose International have donated a total of $9,600.00 in scholarships this year, of which the Northern Michigan Puddle has contributed $4,000.00 to this total.

Congratulations to recipients Courtnee Zaremba, Hannah Johnston, Jack Holscher and Rylee Harding who each received $1,000.00!

Gander Spotlight: Ailie Bikaunieks (Ontario Pond)

Posted by tmaloney on July 24, 2020
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Ailie Bikaunieks, PMLG Ontario Pond Member since 2012

Where do I even begin….my experiences with Blue Goose Ontario Pond. I have so many memories, over the course of 9 years, I guess I’ll go with my first and most funny.

Ontario Pond brings in the new Ganders in Quebec City. I’m sure if you were there, you’d remember too. My very first official out of town “assignment”. It was important, and that’s how I felt. Like I was part of the flock, a team, a mission. Get these young Goslings initiated. But I was also scared out of my mind. Until I felt the warm embrace of my fellow Ganders who’d come from far and wide. Join in, further the cause, be part of the bigger picture. You can do this. And I did.

I was given the best task, to write a script based on a 100+ year old charter without losing meaning or the seriousness of the message, with a funky twist. Fellowship and charity. But it has to be fun, memorable without losing “the solemnity” of this sacred order. The theme, disco-chic, 1970’s funkadelic with a too hot to handle actress-teacher to bring the ponds to order.

All goslings were given their proper headdress, in the form of a super stylish afro-wig. Ontario Executive dressed in full psychedelia. Big glasses, short dresses , bell-bottoms and chunky shoes. Our Pond, along with anxious Goslings waiting outside a grand ballroom packed with members from all ponds. It’s almost time to make our entrance. To get this show on the road.

“Class will come to order!” the teacher yells. Again, “I said…CLASS WILL COME TO ORDER” as she slams her metre stick on the chalk board. This was getting serious. This teacher means business. Butterflies filled my stomach as the room filled with silence. All I could hear was this teacher yelling at my fellow Ganders. I almost cried. Oh no – I went too far.

The heavy wooden doors open, I can see the serious nature on the faces of an international order, eager to see what we could do.

Queue the Bee-Gees, enter Ontario’s executive members busting a move, grooving in a line as we approach the lectern, and the big chalk board filled with proper spellings of some old-world vocabulary. Anyone who has had to read or recite the charter knows the challenge of getting through all those tongue twisting words. To “inculcate”. Try saying that 20x in a row.

I could hear the whispers from the flocks at the banks of the international pond as we disco danced our way up the longest isle ever, to stay serious as we took our places to commence with the ancient initiation ceremony.

Chris Giffin, a serious kinda fellow has the “tweaked” charter in his hands. Our fearless leader, Laurel DiMaso, in a cheeky technicolour dress, also a take-no-prisoners kinda gal, standing on guard as she eyed the room. Confidence matters. You’d never guess that “Inculcate and Solemnity” would make you want to get up and dance.

I could see all those serious faces start to soften, lips started curling upwards, then engagement followed by booming laughter coming from the banks of the pond. These are real people, and if they’re here, they are fierce about injecting fun into the serious nature of charity and benevolence. I was home, and so happy to be there. And so was everyone else as the rite of passage came to its conclusion with a full-on standing ovation. Laughter filled the room as folks got out of their seats and came together, welcoming each other and making plans to tour the city and spread our wings.

This is what it’s all about. Fellowship, charity, and good nature with a heaping side of laughter. Welcome, the Honourable Order The Blue Goose International. It is my honour.

Ailie Bikaunieks, PMLG Ontario Pond.

Our Centenarian Gander of the Year

Posted by tmaloney on July 09, 2020
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The early part of May one of our YOUNGER GENERATION Blue Goose members was highlighted in the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper.  The article referenced that Mr. Ralph Wild was quite “Blue” in these pandemic times.  The Honorable Order of Blue Goose felt that they could aid in the cheering up of Mr. Wild and thus a request was made to the entire membership to send an email or a card to Mr. Wild.  Our goal was to show no matter how young or old, what corner of the world you reside in, we are there for each other.  It also was a reminder to all our members that too often we forget our members who might not make our monthly meetings.  But these veteran Ganders built our Ponds and may have helped keep those Ponds alive and well for us.

Born in Yorkshire, England, Ralph Wild joined the Royal Air Force as an instrument repair technician a few months before the Second World War began.  The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign of the Second World War to be fought entirely by air forces, and the largest, most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date.

This veteran did not stay on the ground forever. He volunteered for overseas service and came to Canada on December 4th, 1940 to work as part of the Commonwealth Air Training plan. He was here for three and a half years and oversaw instrument repair for the training aircraft. During that time, his air crew posting came, and he became a navigator and an officer. He returned to Britain and did a tour with bomber command until the end of the war.

While on leave in Winnipeg, Canada he met his future wife.  They were married June 1943 and soon they had a son, who followed him back to England, traveling the dangerous North Atlantic in a convoy.  After the war, while he finished his university in Britain before returning to Winnipeg, Wild gave lectures at museums and schools about his experiences in the war.  Then in 1948, Mr. Wild and his family returned to Winnipeg, where they lived ever since.

Ralph started in the insurance business with the Northern Employers Insurance as an accountant and latterly setting up their claims department. This Insurer was formed because of a merger with Northern Assurance and Employers Liability Assurance. This Insurer was acquired by the Commercial Union Insurance (UK Based) which at the time was one of the three largest Insurers in Canada. Commercial Union closed the Winnipeg branch in 1977 and converted it to a service office and Ralph was given a buyout package.  But Ralph became bored, so he began doing some legal work for a law firm, but found that this was not to his liking, so he joined Marine Office Appleton and Cox / Marine Office of America Corporation (MOAC) in the claims department.  Ralph finally retired in 1982.

He is believed to be the last living Royal Canadian Air Force survivor of the Battle of Britain.  But Wild explained there is no real secret to a long life.

Mr. Wild, our CENTENARIAN Gander, said genes have a lot to do with how old you live, and he was lucky to inherit the long lifespan of his mother’s side of the family.

“Never do anything to anybody that you wouldn’t have done to you.”

Mrs. Wild died on August 1, 2000, leaving three children and several grandchildren.

Ralph Wild is presumably our oldest Gander at 101!  Ralph has been a member of the Manitoba Pond for 61 years, joining in 1958, and is a PMLG.

A side note or two, is that Ralph still drove his vehicle until he himself decided to give up his drivers’ license when he was 98 years of age. Ralph continues to speak to children at schools about his time serving in the war. He has a great memory and speaks without the aid of any notes.

The Grand Nest Officers have decided to bestow on Mr. Wild the honor of being our 2019-2020 Gander of the Year! 

Manitoba Pond makes “Dream Factory” wishes come true!

Posted by tmaloney on June 26, 2020
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The Manitoba Pond generously donated $19,000.00 earlier this year to Dream Factory, which is a foundation dedicated to creating memories for kids battling life threating illnesses. Below is how their money was used to help one little girl.

Good afternoon Keith,

I hope this message finds you and the members of the Blue Goose well. I wanted to reach out very quickly this afternoon to say thank you again for the very generous donation you made to The Dream Factory last December. While we always are truly so appreciative for your support, your gift has been incredibly valuable in allowing us to continue our work through this difficult period of time. I want to make sure you know how much it means to us, and the families we work with.

I also wanted to share a little bit of an update on how we’re still making dreams come true. While a lot of our travel related dreams have understandably been put on hold, we are still supporting families here in Manitoba who need support right now. One example is Sophie, who’s dream shifted to a backyard makeover after her family learned they did not have time to wait. You can read more of Sophie’s story here – https://thedreamfactory.ca/blog/meet-sophie

Thankfully, because of donations like yours – we were able to make Sophie’s backyard makeover dream come true just a few weeks ago. I’ve attached a few photos to this email of Sophie enjoying her incredible new space.

From all of us at The Dream Factory – thank you again for helping make dreams come true, especially during this particularly challenging time. If we don’t connect before the end of the year, I will also be sending a more formal report showing how your donation made an impact in 2020, and some of the highlights of our year.

Please feel free to share this message with the rest of the group. If there is anything else I can do to be of help, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can be reached via email at this address or by phone at (431) 999-9437.

With appreciation,

Andrew

Andrew Kussy, CFRE
Development Manager, The Dream Factory