May 2, 2014 at 6:55 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ – Livingston resident Kenneth DeGhetto was recently honored by the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges for his longstanding generosity and commitment to the organization.
DeGhetto is a 90-year-old World War II veteran who learned to swim at the YMCA in the 1930’s. He received an award called the 2013 Lay Person of the Year Award 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.
“His personal generosity is beyond compare, and his business and management acumen are an asset to the organization’s leadership,’’ said Metro YMCA President and CEO Richard K. Gorab. Thanks to DeGhetto’s efforts, the Rotary Club of Livingston Foundation named the Metro YMCA its 2013 Citizen of the Year, Gorab noted.
DeGhetto is the retired chairman of the global organization Foster Wheeler and 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.
In addition to learning how to swim at the Passaic Y in the early 1930’s, Ghetto also later became a swim instructor.
Out of high school, he attended the United States 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 kids.”