Dale Burkard Izzo is the ideal inductee into the Branford Sports Hall of Fame. She has not only been an outstanding athlete, but has spent her adult life giving back to the Branford community.
Dale began her competitive swimming career when she joined the Branford Rec. Stingrays in 1975 at the age of six. For the next twelve years she would be a mainstay of the Stingray program. By the time she entered Branford High School she was an outstanding swimmer but more importantly was a dedicated and loyal team leader. She was a state finalist each year and was captain of the 86-87 team and led Branford to a 10 win, 1 loss, 1 tie record. From Branford she went on to Northeastern University where she again excelled on their swim team, was a member of the school record setting relay team and once again her leadership abilities were seen as she was captain of the 90-91 Northeastern team.
After graduating from Northeastern with honors and a degree in Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation, she worked as a Rehabilitation Specialist. In 1999 Dale accepted a full time position at the Branford Rec. Department where her accomplishments have become legendary. Every year she manages to initiate new activities such as the Teen Travel Program, Halloween Haunted House, inclusion of special needs students in Rec. programs and the Learn to Swim Program. Today she is the Assistant Director of the Branford Rec. Department where she wears many hats. She has been involved in the Branford Festival since 1999, serving in every major position including chairman in 2003. Dale is presently vice-president of the Branford Festival Board and will soon become President, Treasurer of the Branford Fireworks Committee, co-chairman of the Branford Holiday Festival and Parade and active member of the Coalition Against Underage Drinking, Juvenile Review Board, Family Day and Take A Step Committees. This year Dale was the recipient of the Rotary Clubs prestigious “Paul Harris Fellows Award” for community involvement.
Thirty-five years ago Dale got her start in competitive swimming with the Branford Stingrays and for the past ten years she has coached the Stingrays’ youngest swimmers. Many of those young swimmers are now part of the highly successful Branford High School Team and remember that they not only learned their basic skills but also their love of the sport from Dale.
Dale and her husband Dan have two sons, Eric-5 and Tanner-4 and both love the water. Her parents, Marion and Bob Burkard set the example of contributing to Branford. Her older brother Bob is a successful businessman in Boston while younger brother Kurt lives locally and works for Comcast. Dale’s love for her home town is something she demonstrates every day as she gives 110% of herself in making sure that Branford has a wide variety of excellent recreational and community activities. We take great pride in inducting Dale into the Branford Sports Hall of Fame.