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thedrifter
03-17-07, 10:47 AM
Pizzeria sends Conn. soldier a slice of home

By Heather Barr - The (Danbury, Conn.) News Times
Posted : Saturday Mar 17, 2007 8:34:18 EDT

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — It’s not easy to get pizza in Afghanistan. So, when 25-year-old Rickey Olivier, a Connecticut National Guard combat engineer, received 10 cheese pizzas, it was a real slice of home.

“It was awesome,” Olivier e-mailed his mother, Kathy De Santi of Brookfield.

He and his entire unit, Alpha Company 1-102nd Infantry Battalion, were grateful for the pizzas and other food, like stuffed bread with meat and cheese and dried, sweet sausage.

Rocco and Della D’Arcangelo, owners of Genoa Deli in Ridgefield, and their son, Louie D’Arcangelo, wanted to do something special for Olivier, so in January, they prepared the pizzas and other food, which De Santi packaged, vacuum-sealed and mailed.

The food, weighing 27 pounds, cost $18 to ship and $12 to insure.

A week and a half later, Olivier got his package. All he had to do was heat the pizza.

“The main reason why we did it was to boost his spirits, to give him a little taste of home,” said Louie D’Arcangelo, 23, who has been friends with Rickey since they were 5.

Both graduated in 2001 from Brookfield High School and went to Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.

Rickey wanted to join the military after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In May 2002, he talked to a recruiter in Danbury and joined the Connecticut National Guard.

He began boot camp in Missouri in January 2003, graduated that May, and he was deployed to Watertown, N.Y., that June.

In January 2006, Olivier began training at Fort Drum, N.C., before he and his unit left for Afghanistan in April.

He came home for a few weeks in July, and his unit is scheduled to return to American shores in late spring.

“It has been tough not having him here, but we have kept in touch,” said Louie D’Arcangelo, who talks to his friend via phone and e-mail.

“One thing that stood out to me was when he told me he had actually been under fire,” Louie D’Arcangelo said. “He was driving and his window spidered ... It was kind of weird knowing that I am here ... and he is getting shot at. It was kind of a reality check.”

The D’Arcangelos and Rickey’s family — his mother; brother Anthony, 21; sisters Danielle, 27, and Lauren, 18; and father Rick Olivier, all of Brookfield, look forward to seeing Rickey soon.

“It will be nice to get him home finally,” Louie D’Arcangelo said.