Virginia (US), Dec.6 (ANI): A Virginia businessman, Earl Stafford, has reserved a million dollars worth of rooms at Washington's JW Marriott Hotel and plans to give the rooms away to the underprivileged during Inauguration week.
Stafford, who is black, said the swearing-in of America's first black president makes the occasion that much more special, but added that he pursued his plans without knowing who would be elected.
He plans to offer the rooms, at no charge and has had hundreds of responses so far.
"Our telephones are off the hook. Our e-mails are going crazy," Fox News quoted him, as saying.Stafford still has to figure out how to distribute his three-day inauguration vacation. He's working with a bevy of organizations to identify worthy candidates seeking the opportunity to witness the historic day.
"This is just our feeble attempt to help promote unity and help bring healing to the land," Stafford said, adding that he is reaching out to the homeless, to battered women, to wounded veterans and to those who are terminally ill, as well as to those who are facing foreclosure.
So far, with his own money, Stafford has reserved 300 rooms, as well as four luxury suites. He's got a reservation for the 12th-floor balcony, a heated, tented terrace that overlooks the parade route. But he's partnering with co-sponsors to host other celebrations at the hotel: a prayer breakfast, a luncheon, a "People's Inaugural Ball" and a youth ball.
He said he expects as many as 2,500 people to show up, 30 percent of whom will be underprivileged.
He said he was working with another hotel in Washington when he saw an article in late October about a million dollar package being offered by the Marriott.
"It just appeared to me then that that's what the Lord wanted me to do," he said.
Stafford, 60, is the founder of Virginia-based Universal Systems and Technology. (ANI)