Chance encounter on Beechmont Avenue gives brothers a place to stay at Christmas

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 19:10:07-05

UNION TOWNSHIP (CLERMONT COUNTY), Ohio -- James Felty and his brother, Tom, will have a roof over their heads for Christmas.

That simple fact is something most people expect, but the two might have spent the holidays outdoors if not for a chance encounter along Beechmont Avenue.

The brothers said they couldn't find a shelter that would let them stay with their dog, Lacha, so they spent their days sitting on a bench and slept in a tent at night. That bench has an advertising for a roofing company, by the way.

"It was hard," James said. "It was cold. The wind was cold, the rain. If it wasn't for the tent, I don't think we would've made it."

Last week, Jessica Brenes didn't know anything about James and Tom. For now, she waits tables at the Anderson Pub and Grill, but she's going to school to become a police officer.

Over the weekend, she was on a ride-along with the Union Township Police Department when she saw another woman give the brothers two-nights' stay in a hotel.

They were so grateful," Brenes said. "They packed up their bags and ran across (Beechmont) to the hotel room, they were so excited."

Brenes decided she'd help James and Tom, too. With the help of her mother, she collected some items for the brothers and donated two more nights at the hotel.

"I personally told my mom I didn't want a gift for Christmas," she said. "I just wanted to help somebody."

Brenes also shared the brothers' story on Facebook, and soon, others offered to donate food, clothes and more nights at the hotel. That means the brothers get to stay through Christmas, and people are working to find them a more permanent place to live.

"It makes you feel like there is Christmas out there," James said.