Benefactor Shows Family Hope Again

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Dylan Brown and his family benefitted from the generosity of Virgnina millionaire Earl Stafford on Inauguration Day.
CBS

On this Inauguration Day, the wealthy and powerful mingled with the powerless and poor without prejudice in one giant banquet room in a Washington hotel, reports CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras.

Among the families was Telisha Brown, her husband Kenny, and their boys.

"It felt like, when he did the speech, that he was talking to me," Telisha Brown told Assuras.

Their family felt like they were on top of the world. And they were literally up high, watching the parade as it passed by 12 stories below on Pennsylvania Ave.

Their front row to history was thanks to Virginia millionaire Earl Stafford and his non-profit foundation dedicated to the disadvantaged. It was a pricey proposition: $1 million for 300 bedrooms at a downtown hotel - and one of the best views in town.

But for Stafford, the son of a Baptist minister, bringing more than 300 homeless, terminally ill people and wounded veterans from around the country to the inauguration was divine inspiration.

"That's what this is really about," Stafford said. "That somehow, that we become aware that we are, in fact, our brother's keeper."

For the Brown family, it opened a fantasy world far removed from their struggles back home.

Kenny Brown described their situation as "one step away from being on the streets and nowhere to go."

Telisha Brown works in a bookstore. Kenny, a chef, lost yet another job last week. They live in an interfaith shelter for families. They were going to celebrate the inauguration in their tiny apartment.

"It's cool that, you know, somebody was thinking about the little people," Telisha said.

Instead, they were all set up to wear gowns and tuxes, all donated, to the People's Inaugural Ball.

"Not a lot of people get the opportunity to see the new president," said Dylan Brown. "Plus he's African American, and the first."

And they're taking their new president's promises to heart.

"Maybe my children will look at him and want to do something different than what they wanted to do before now," Telisha said.

They're a family finding hope again.