Sports celebrities honored at Franciscan banquet

Franciscan Life Center Executive Director Sister Barbara Johnson, FSE presents George Grande with the Saint Francis Award. Honorees George Grande and Al Terzi listen as George Bodeheimer shares a story of the early days of ESPN.

MERIDEN, CT (06-01-2010) - George Grande, former Cincinnati Reds announcer and very first ESPN Sportscenter anchor, was honored with the Saint Francis Award at the Franciscan Life Center’s 25th Franciscan Sports Banquet and Silent Auction held at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, Connecticut. Grande was honored for his involvement in sports, his long record of community work and his witness to Christian values. Al Terzi, Channel 3 news anchor, was presented with the Jim Calhoun Community Service Award, and ESPN was presented with the 2010 Corporate Sponsorship Award. Representing ESPN was George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks; Chris Berman, ESPN anchor; Rosa Gatti, ESPN’s senior Vice President of Communications, and ESPN employees.

Sports figures and past honorees present at the event included Jim Calhoun, Pat Calhoun, UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway, former UConn assistant coach and current Quinnipiac University head coach Tom Moore, Quinnipiac University women’s basketball head coach Tricia Fabbri, Central Connecticut State University men’s basketball head coach Howie Dickenman, the New York Giants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, and FOX CT News sports anchor Rich Coppola. Proceeds from the evening will be used to support services at the Franciscan Life Center and Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care.

George Grande with his wife, his mother-in-law, his son, Mother Shaun Vergauwen and Mother Rosemae Pender. Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Jim Calhoun and Very Reverend Douglas Mosey, CSB watch with interest a slide show presentation on the Franciscan Sisters' mission.
Silent auction bidders review items ranging from sports memorabilia to contemporary jewelry and luxury weekend get-aways. Brother Rufino Grealy, Sister Patricia Glass and Sister Monica Navalta helped prepare and run the silent auction. Along with Father Douglas Mosey, Brother Rufino was acknowledged as one of the founders of the Franciscan Sports Banquet 25 years ago.
Rich Coppola (right), emcee, listens as George Bodenheimer introduces George Grande. Reverend John Rooney and Sister Mary Roberta Connors of Houston talk with friends at the banquet. Sister Mary Roberta coordinates the silent auction.

(Above) Francis and Judith Barillaro (left) enjoy a light moment with Dolores and Douglass Hemming during the silent auction.

(Left) Faithful friends of the Franciscan Sisters support the Franciscan mission through volunteer services every week and through their attendance at every fund-raising event.