The following was submitted by the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges:
World War II veteran who learned to swim at a YMCA in the 1930s has been
honored for his longstanding generosity and commitment to the Metropolitan YMCA
of the Oranges.
DeGhetto, of Livingston, received the 2013 Lay Person of the Year Award for his
embodiment of the YMCA’s commitment to social responsibility. DeGhetto was honored at the April 3 annual
meeting of the Metro YMCA—the largest organization of YMCAs in New Jersey
serving more than 35,000 people at six branches.
chairman of the global corporation Foster Wheeler has been fundraising and
spreading the word about the Metro YMCA’s good works and donating to the East
Orange and West Essex branches since joining its board of directors in 2003.
“His personal generosity is beyond compare, and his business and
management acumen are an asset to the organization’s leadership,’’ Metro YMCA
President and CEO Richard K. Gorab said.
Thanks to DeGhetto’s efforts, the Rotary
Club of Livingston Foundation named the Metro YMCA its 2013 Citizen of the
Year, Gorab noted.
to the YMCA go back to his childhood in Clifton. In the early 1930s, he learned
how to swim at the Passaic
Y and went on to become a Y swim instructor.
Out of high
school, he attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point,
N.Y and then served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II. After
the war, he competed on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s varsity swim
team while earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He went on to
earn a doctorate degree and then rose to top leadership at Foster Wheeler.
DeGhetto and his wife of nearly 70 years, Helen,
are the 2014 sponsors of the Metro YMCA SPLASH water-safety program. SPLASH
(Swim, Play and Learn Aquatic Safety Habits) is offered for free to children at
all six branches.
The Metro YMCA
in 2011 created the Kenneth A. DeGhetto Champion’s Cup to honor his support of its
Annual Kids Care Golf Tournament.
“The award is
given annually to someone who, like Ken, demonstrates a spirit of generosity,
sportsmanship, and unwavering support of the YMCA mission of strengthening the
community through youth development, healthy
living and social responsibility,’’ Gorab said. “He is a true champion of