A Rock Solid Fraternal Bond
Dan Olmetti and Gary Stock both joined Delta Tau Delta at the University of Florida in 1968. As chapter brothers, they played intramural football and softball together. Olmetti served as chapter president. Stock was voted Outstanding Senior Brother in 1970. Then they said goodbye after graduation in the spring of 1970 to go their separate ways.
Olmetti married his college sweetheart, Pat, and started a family. He spent the first 10 years of his career in local government in Fort Lauderdale, then 22 years in the wireless telecommunications industry. He managed and led teams that constructed and operated full-service wireless communication companies in the South Florida and New York City markets. His management career included senior level positions with ATT Wireless, Sprint and Metro PCS, which is owned by T-Mobile.
“I was fortunate to help build an industry that was just beginning to have a huge impact on our country,” he said. “I was especially proud of the support our Sprint Wireless team provided to the first responders during the events of September 11, and the recovery efforts that followed at Ground Zero.”
Meanwhile, Stock married rival Florida State University alumna Linda and raised a family during his military career. He spent most of his Air Force career as an intelligence officer working on national reconnaissance systems; as an analyst, especially regarding the balance of forces in Korea; then as a policy and plans officer including developing intelligence programs for the president’s budget. He was assigned to the Pentagon twice, the White House and National Security Council, and helped create U.S. Central Command. “I spent my most challenging year 40 miles away from North Korea in Seoul the Republic of Korea,” Stock said. He retired but later returned to duty serving as a Lieutenant Colonel with the National Reconnaissance Office, where he helped provide warriors with National systems intelligence.
Stock joined the Northern Virginia Senior Softball League (NVSS) in 2003. He had managed a church softball team for 29 years, so the game and the camaraderie have always been part of his life. He says the advantages of lifetime involvement in sports is friendships that endure, improved health, motivation to stay in shape in the off-season and get even better, tremendous mental benefits and of course, trophies.
Olmetti retired in 2011 and with his wife moved to Virginia to live closer to his daughter. He played in competitive softball leagues for 18 years in New York, but upon moving to Virginia realized he might want to play with competitors closer to his age, so he found the senior league.
On opening day in 2013, a new teammate noticed Olmetti’s Gator gear and told him there was another crazy Gator fan in the league. There were 550 players in the league, but there was a Gator on another team. What he didn’t know was the Gator he was about to meet was none other than the Delt brother he’d said goodbye to more than 40 years earlier. His name was Gary Stock.
There they were again, 43 years later on a softball field in Virginia 770 miles from Gainesville.
“I was excited to see Gary again and we caught up on some of the past 40 or so years. I was also fortunate to visit with his wife, Linda, who was battling a severe illness. I remembered Linda from Delt parties when she and Gary were dating. Gary brought me up to speed on her health issues and invited me to visit her in an assisted living facility. I was honored to be able to visit with her and we reminisced a bit about the Delt house,” Olmetti said.
Stock says the opportunity to reconnect with Olmetti has driven home the value of friendship, brotherhood and staying in touch. “It can be of the utmost importance and so personal,” he said. “When my wife Linda was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Parkinson’s Disease in 2010, caring for her became my primary focus and interest. And is so often the case with a prolonged and incurable illness, caring for the caregiver – me – is also difficult.”
“When Dan re-entered my life in 2013, he almost immediately became a friend who was not only interested in Linda but who was also concerned about me. Dan became part of a small group of friends who helped me get through the five-plus years of that journey. Then since Linda passed in March 2015, he has been there for me on the ball field and off,” Stock said.
Olmetti was one of the few people who knew Stock and his wife through Delta Tau Delta back in 1970, and he was there to witness their lives after 43 years of marriage. With this connection, Stock became acutely aware of a fraternal bond that is rock-solid.
Over the past three seasons, Olmetti and Stock have played against each and this year finally played together on the same team. “Dan and I work especially well together on the field,” Stock said. “We both play infield and we have a special bond off the field, although if Olmetti makes an out, nobody wants to be around him.”