Jeff Calhoun was once again the featured guest at the Easter Seals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut 27th annual Crystal Ball. And to the couple, it was an event they could not miss, no matter how well UConn was doing as it prepared for the Elite Eight round on Sunday.
“We are committed to the Easter Seals, they were there for us during our journey with our daughter,” said Calhoun, referring to his now 8-year-old daughter, Reese, who is autistic. “We have been fortunate in our lives,” said Calhoun.” Participating in this event and telling our story is important to us.”
The gala, chaired by Bill and Sandy Selig and senior managing director/CFO of New York Life Investments David Bedard and his wife, Ellen Bedard, attracted about 300 people and raised more than $450,000 at the Marriott Hartford Downtown.
“I think sometimes people forget how many years Easter Seals has stepped up for children with serious health disabilities and the families that need support,” said Rhianna Pinero, a Hartford resident who was part of the gala crowd. “I remember my parents and grandparents supporting the Easter Seals at a time when there were not many organizations for children with disabilities.”
Proceeds from Saturday’s ball benefited several East Seals programs including its autism initiative.
And while the night was about a good cause, the chatter was about “bleeding blue” and how UConn men would fare Sunday in the NCAA Elite Eight playoffs. And of course all you had to do was ask a Calhoun and you know you’ll get an answer.
“I went to school with Kevin and I played ball with Kevin,” grinned Jeff Calhoun, referring to Kevin Ollie who succeeded Jim Calhoun as men’s head coach. “And I know you never bet against Kevin,” he said. “”Whenever they said Kevin could not do something, he went in and he did it. “ Calhoun said, alluding to opinions that UConn would be stymied in the NCAA championship climb. “Kevin gets what he wants.”