Dmitry Feld deserves to be in the Lake Placid Hall of Fame

Former USA Luge Marketing Manager Dmitry Feld gives his signature thumbs up in 2018 during a start competition at the luge team’s headquarters in Lake Placid. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

It’s that time again to start submitting nominations for the Lake Placid Hall of Fame. Being inducted is really a big deal in this community, as it highlights the people who have made major contributions to the Olympic Region.

The Lake Placid Hall of Fame Committee has a set of criteria to be considered for induction:

¯ People must be current or past residents of the Olympic Region — defined as Essex, Clinton and Franklin counties — or have a significant connection to the area.

¯ Nominees must have made significant sports, cultural or civic contributions to the region, or their endeavors must have enhanced the area’s quality of life, fellowship of man or historical heritage.

The selection committee will only consider nominations if they include a list of accomplishments relative to the Hall of Fame’s purpose.

I Love BBQ and Music Festival organizer Dmitry Feld, left, poses with volunteer Adam Wild of Lake Placid during the 2023 festival. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

People may send nominations electronically to museum@orda.org or by mail: Lake Placid Hall of Fame Committee, c/o Courtney Bastian, 2634 Main St., Lake Placid, NY 12946. The deadline is Aug. 1. The induction reception will be held in November.

The Lake Placid Hall of Fame began in 1983 and has inducted more than 100 people, including members of the 1948 U.S. Olympic four-man bobsled team and the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

Plaques and a kiosk commemorating each member are on display in the Olympic Center’s Hall of Fame in the Lake Placid Conference Center. They can also be viewed online at lakeplacidlegacysites.com/about-us/history/hall-of-fame.

We encourage people to send submissions to the Hall of Fame Committee. And while we don’t usually print the names of people we think deserve to be recognized, we will break with tradition this year.

USA Luge Marketing Manager Dmitry Feld, middle, poses with two police officers Friday, May 20, 2022, after they donated ballistic vests for the Ukrainian relief effort. At left is Lt. Jeff Howe, of the Fitchburg Police Department in Massachusetts, and at right is Lake Placid Police Chief Chuck Dobson. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

Dear nomination committee:

Given his recent passing, Dmitry Feld deserves to be in the Lake Placid Hall of Fame. We’re actually surprised he’s not in the Hall yet. When Feld died in January at the age of 68, he was the marketing manager for USA Luge, president of the Shipman Youth Center board and co-organizer of the annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival — all in Lake Placid, where he’d lived since the 1980s. But this only scratches the surface of Feld’s service to the community. His contributions to national and international winter sports — luge, bobsled and skeleton — and to Lake Placid are well documented, and some would say they are legendary.

“Dmitry’s contribution to USA Luge is almost immeasurable,” USA Luge Sponsorship and Marketing Director Gordy Sheer told the News in January. “It’s been said that he was the heart and soul of USA Luge. If you look through our list of supporters and friends, Dmitry is the root of a tremendous number of partnerships. It was never about anything other than Dmitry being a great guy and making people feel a part of what was going on and making them feel like they were important because they were important to Dmitry.”

After Feld’s death, USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy described him as “the fabric” of the organization.

Talking in January about Feld’s volunteer work, Sheer said, “If everybody could be more like Dmitry, this world would be a better place.”

After Russia invaded Feld’s home country of Ukraine in February 2022, with the help of the village of Lake Placid, he organized the purchase of 20 Ukrainian flags that were hung on light poles on Main Street in March 2022. Village Electrical Superintendent Kimball Daby fronted the $1,850 bill, and Feld offered to reimburse him, but Sheer suggested they raise money for the flags through USA Luge. Feld raised enough donations in a single day.

“He was certainly a person that got things done, and I don’t know anyone that didn’t like him,” Daby said in January. “I just know no one else could do the barbecue fest like Dmitry did. And Dmitry would do anything for anybody.”

Only two people have had their funerals on the ice of the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena: former Olympic Center General Manager Denny Allen, who was already in the Lake Placid Hall of Fame when he died in 2019, and Dmitry Feld. That, in itself, says a lot about what people thought about Feld. Let’s honor him again this fall with an induction into the Lake Placid Hall of Fame.

Dmitry Feld’s accomplishments (a partial list)

– Born in 1955 in Kamchatka, Russia, Feld was raised in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, and he competed in the sport of luge from a young age. In 1979, he moved to America, arriving in New York City first before heading to the Adirondacks. Feld moved to Lake Placid in 1984 to serve as the development coach for USA Luge, and he became a U.S. citizen in 2001.

– Since moving to Lake Placid, Feld had worked toward the promotion and development of luge, bobsled and skeleton in marketing, communications and sponsorship roles. His work took him to eight Olympic Winter Games. He worked as the development coach for USA Luge from 1984 to 2001, when he took a job with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation before going back to USA Luge five years later.

– Feld helped build the U.S. Luge Team into what it is today and served as a liaison between the team and European counterparts here and abroad, especially as translator in Ukrainian and Russian.

– Feld organized fundraising efforts and supply drives to benefit the people of Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. He single-handedly raised over $100,000 for the Ukraine effort and organized the donation of hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment and supplies to the frontlines, hospitals and schools. He even made a trip to Ukraine with Saranac Lake veterinarian Dr. John Cogar, hand delivering drones to the military and providing assistance to pets in the capital region.

– In August 2023, Feld hosted two Kyiv teachers, Svitlana Shevchenko and Natalia Oshzova, and showed them around Lake Placid. He had organized an annual school-supply drive for their school. A month later, Feld and a group of friends packed a minivan full of used sneakers to be shipped (van and all) to Ukraine. Feld said sneakers were a huge request from the Ukranian Army, as they went through them quickly. He collected around 150 pairs.

– Feld helped immigrants and refugees resettle in the Adirondack region.

– Feld raised money for area youth, particularly at the Shipman Youth Center, where he was president of the board. The I Love Barbecue & Music Festival, of which he co-created and co-organized, raised more than $350,000 for the youth center during the event’s 17-year existence. The festival also brought many barbecue competition teams and judges to Lake Placid from the U.S. and Canada and provided extra entertainment for residents and visitors during the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.

– Feld was involved with Haiti Direct Relief International, which helped to provide medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster and civil unrest.

– Feld served on the board of the Adirondack Arc, an organization whose mission is to provide opportunities to people with developmental disabilities.

– The Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News honored Feld as their 2010 Volunteer of the Year.

– Feld received the 2010 Liberty Bell Award as an outstanding citizen from the Essex County Bar Association.

– Feld was named the 2017 Lake Placid and North Elba Adult Distinguished Volunteer of the Year. The selection committee said that through his volunteer service with numerous nonprofit groups and boards, Feld “has displayed an outstanding commitment to the community and beyond, working to improve the lives of others.”

(This nomination was submitted to the Lake Placid Hall of Fame Committee on Wednesday, June 26 by Lake Placid News Editor/Publisher Andy Flynn.)

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