John (Jack) F. Talmage of Woodmere, New York
Heritage Sponsor John (Jack) Talmage joined Ducks Unlimited in 1956, when both he and DU were just 19 years old. Jack grew up hunting Long Island's coastal salt marshes at a time when duck populations and duck hunting were on the upswing. By the mid-1950s, New York City's annual DU dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria attracted more than 1,200 duck hunters from a three-state area. Jack was one of them. He signed on as a DU member and began volunteering right away.
"My good friend E. Herrick Low took me duck hunting when I was a teenager, and thanks to him, I couldn't stop," Jack explains. Low, a founding DU member and the organization's fifth president, took young Jack under his wing. The young man started out as a "runner," carrying drinks and helping run the raffle. By the early 1960s, Jack was chairing the prestigious event. He even appeared in the classic DU film Brant Shooting on the Atlantic, which featured a number of hunting scenes filmed on his property.
As Ducks Unlimited grew, Jack's work as a volunteer increased as well. He soon became New York DU state vice chairman and then state chairman. He always answered the call when DU added new chapters and events. His passion for conservation and waterfowling was more than impressive—it was contagious. Like his mentor Low, he became an enthusiastic recruiter of new members and volunteers.
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No one on Long Island has represented Ducks Unlimited longer, and with more sincerity and passion, than Jack. For this, DU and North America's waterfowl are much better off.