Leading by Example: Brett and Katy Lecy

Brett and Katy Lecy lead a daily life that most would consider bananas. As commercial airline pilots, they commute back and forth to Chicago every week, trading off being the at-home parent of three children. But the long drive affords them the lifestyle they want in Door County, a life they opted for instead of one in suburban Chicago. 

What makes the Lecys’ life choices even more extraordinary is the amount of love and energy they pour into their children’s educations and Gibraltar Area Schools. For a few days at a time, Brett heads south for work while Katy stays home. Then halfway through the week, Brett returns north as Katy heads south, leaving Brett to manage the household. More often than not, they pass each other with a wave somewhere on Interstate 43.

“Sometimes we’ll say, ‘Let’s stop at County D for a quick kiss!’” Brett said with a chuckle.

The Lecys’ weekday generosity of serving Gibraltar’s classrooms and children is something that they see as a natural outcome of wanting to show their children what a community is all about.

“We’re always telling our kids what to do and [to] do what we say, but I think it’s more important to show them,” close friend Lauren Schar said. “The Lecys lead by example, showing all our children the importance of being involved.”

Due to the nature of their work schedules, being as involved as Katy and Brett are is all the more impressive. In addition to helping in their children’s schools, they have shared roles on the boards of Peninsula Preschool and the Friends of Gibraltar.

“Most of the boards we’ve served on, it’s been together,” Brett said. “Whichever one of us was home would attend the meeting.”

Katy said that she’s the “doer,” and Brett is the idea man. Listening to them talk about one another’s strengths as individuals paints a beautiful, symbiotic picture of what they’re like as a team.

“They use their time in Door County to the fullest by helping out at school when others are working,” Schar said. “They never shy away from covering other families who have to work traditional hours while their kids are at school.”

Brett and Katy are both a regular fixture around the halls of Gibraltar: volunteering to chaperone field trips, spearheading Friends of Gibraltar events and projects, helping out in classrooms. 

One of the more powerful volunteering experiences took place when Brett worked with his daughter’s then-first-grade classroom to put together gifts for children living in an orphanage in Ghana. At the time, Brett was flying internationally and often to Africa. Working with Friends of Gibraltar project coordinator Vinni Chomeau, Brett and Katy helped the first-graders to collect items such as clothing, toys and supplies for the Ghanaian children. Brett flew it all to Ghana, made a video of the children opening the gifts and brought it back to Gibraltar.

In the video, as he was presenting the gifts to the children, a girl asked him about the motivation for organizing this.

Brett’s response? “We want to teach our children to be generous.”

This generosity of spirit — this goal of setting an example of service for their children — is the kind of selfless giving that is anything but ordinary.