Bob and Billie Delaney

The decision to move to Reynolds Lake Oconee was a slam-dunk for former NBA referee Bob Delaney and his wife Billie.

A 25-year career as a referee with the NBA combined with an equally fast-paced motivational speaking schedule has added up to Bob Delaney flying more than 6,000,000 miles.

“Sometimes when you get bored, you just start looking through the airline’s magazine,” says Delaney, explaining how he and wife Billie wound up with their dream home at Reynolds Lake Oconee.

On a flight in late 2016, Delaney saw a magazine ad with an eye-catching photo of the destination resort community along Lake Oconee. “We always had it on our list to live by a lake,” he says. So, he tore out the customer inquiry postcard, mailed it, and “then didn’t think much about it.”

The card landed on the desk of Jeremy Johnson at Reynolds Lake Oconee Properties, who responded promptly. But with Delaney’s up-tempo schedule, it was difficult to connect. It took several months before a visit to Reynolds could be scheduled, and even then, Johnson recalls, “Bob said he had no intention of buying anything.”

Delaney was just pretending to be disinterested. It would not be the first time he presented himself as something, or someone, he is not.

Before becoming an NBA referee in 1987, Delaney spent 14 years as a New Jersey State Trooper and then an Undercover Agent, receiving the Meritorious Service Award for successfully infiltrating organized crime rings. Going deep undercover for three life-on-the-line years, Delaney assumed the persona of the corrupt president of a trucking company. He played the role well enough to get more than 30 criminal convictions from the highly dangerous covert operation.

While the pressures of his undercover experiences made a second career officiating with pro basketball players a relative piece of cake, recovering from the stress led Delaney to a third career: facilitating workshops and training programs on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for military families, law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency service workers around the world.

“We are all susceptible to the impact of stress,” says Delaney, who authored “Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post Traumatic Stress” (Source Books, 2011). “Trauma is trauma, whether it’s a car accident or a tour in Afghanistan. I try to share with folks how they can overcome the stress that affects our lives.” (Delaney recently took a Special Advisor position with the Southeastern Conference working with referees and officials in all sports.)

Getting out on the lake, to just float around, or jump in and take a swim, is therapeutic for me. Bob Delaney

These days, Delaney’s lifestyle at Reynolds is about as stress-free as it gets. The guy who had “no intention of buying anything” almost immediately purchased a home on Parrott’s Pointe Road, so now Delaney is close to the water, his favorite place to be. His therapy.

“Getting out on the lake, to just float around, or jump in and take a swim, is therapeutic for me,” Delaney says. “And just sitting on the back deck, it’s so peaceful. That is not something I have had in my life. The peacefulness is so refreshing. It recharges me.”

No matter how many miles Delaney navigates around Lake Oconee, it never gets boring. There is no need for in-flight magazines anymore.

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