Induction Year: 2011
Inducted as a recipient of the Lydia C. Thering Meritorious Service Award
Lee DeCicco was a four-year letter winner at UW-Superior as a swimmer, graduating in 1977. From the day he stepped on campus, it was clear he was a man who enjoyed working with young people, a task to which he eventually would dedicate his life. Because of this, Mr. DeCicco is the 2011 recipient of the Lydia C. Thering Meritorious Service Award.
Mr. DeCicco began building his résumé as an assistant girls' swimming coach at Duluth East High School, a position he held for two years while competing at UW-Superior. He also worked with the group swim team at the Duluth YMCA in 1977, guiding them to a state championship.
Then in 1978, Mr. DeCicco headed for Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he has made a major impact on the lives of countless people. Upon his arrival, Mr. DeCicco began coaching the Winter Age Group Swim Team with the YMCA of Fort Dodge. In 1985 his team was the open group champions, and in 1990 he was named Most Outstanding Coach. Since 1985 he also has been active with the YMCA summer swim teams in Fort Dodge.
But you need look no farther than his work with special needs children to see where Mr. DeCicco has made his most indelible mark. He has been an area co-coordinator with the Iowa Special Olympics and a volunteer course clerk with the Iowa Games since 1985. With Special Olympics, the science teacher has been the driving force behind the games in Fort Dodge, where he recruits high school students to help with the events.
"It gives the athletes a chance to compete and gives high schoolers a chance to be exposed to special needs kids," he said. "A lot of kids have the wrong idea about special education kids.I'd like to make people less nervous around other groups."