Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Eden Autism Services embraced a ruby theme for its annual gala, “A Ruby in Winter — Reflections of a Rich Life.” The luxuries were more than reflections. Guests passed by several exotic cars as they entered the recently renovated Hyatt Regency, and then spent the cocktail hour sampling wares from luxury boutiques that had popped up in the Hyatt Atrium. Birnn Chocolates, Kudra Furs, Laura Mercier Cosmetics, diamonds and gemstones from Hamilton Jewelers — the best things in life that are not in the “free” category.

The ruby also turned to be a good choice for the serious side of the gala, given that this gemstone is said to be the talisman of passion, love, strength, energy, life force, and protection — traits that many of the participants bring to the autism community.

Nick Ord, president of Miele USA, the ruby sponsor, reflected on how the company’s Route 1 facility became involved in the Eden effort. With three employees having children with special needs, “the corporation recognized the imperative to be sensitive to the challenges they face and committed to becoming active with the various programs Eden provides.”

The experience, Ord said “has been exceptionally fulfilling for the corporation and the other employees.” One of the children, now an adult, is an employee at the Princeton offices, specializing in culinary services such as preparation of linens using the steam ironing system. Working with Eden and drawing on the practical, employable skills that its students develop, Miele maintains a focus on the future of individuals with distinctive challenges. For Ord, Miele, and several hundred others in attendance it was a rich life in various ways.

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