"We were creative as much as we could be, trying to get positions and extra hours so that they could pay their bills," Walker said. "We had staff all over the hotel just to keep them fully employed on a full schedule."
Hotel maids now make the beds, paint the walls, vacuum and change the light bulbs. Katie Hall mans the the front desk in the morning and takes reservations at night. Ricky Conrad takes care of guests' needs in the mornings and delivers room service in the evenings. And David Graham is a doorman who also serves guests drinks.
Graham said at times it can be a little challenging but he's grateful. "I just thank God for the Brown," he said. "They put us in other areas -- instead of sending us home -- and I have to thank God."
All over Louisville, a refrain of "we are all in it together" emerges in the stories we heard from churches, families, co-workers and small businesses.
Walter Cox's construction business flat-lined last year, so he supplements his income as a taxi driver on the weekends. The Pollitt family grows their own vegetables to cut down their grocery bill -- even though the deer eat their corn. And the family-owned grocery story ValueMarket showcases more local foods.
John Summers, the owner of a local AAMCO auto repair shop on Dixie Highway, had to lay off half his small staff and was down to his very last paycheck, when he says a lucky combination of divine intervention and kindness saved his small shop.
"The Good Lord just turned us on," said Summers, referring to an uptick in business last year that was capped by an ultimate gesture of grace.
"I was just totally honest with my landlord [Glen Elmore], I didn't have enough money. We talked about it and he was willing to work with me," Summers said.
Elmore, owner of the property where the AAMCO shop operates, gave him a reduction in his rent -- a lifeline that Summers credits with rescuing his business from the brink, "I would have lost my business for sure without a doubt in my mind."
"I don't think he could survive without a little help and there's a lot of people right now who need a little help," Elmore said, explaining his decision.
"The thing about John is he's a nice young man," Elmore's wife, Judy, said. "He has a family and this day and time you have to help people when they have children, they have wives. You have to do whatever you can to keep livelihood going until we get through this, but we'll make it; everybody will make it."
Across town, a group of Louisville mothers got together last weekend at a "pass it on kids" sale. Donating used clothes, DVDs, toys and books, they were able to raise $11,000 for local charities that they feel need it just as much as they do.
And over at Flavorman, a small business that creates flavors for beverages, they had to lay off 25 percent of their workforce during the recession, but the company started a drive to collect and donate hundreds of shoes for the charity Soles4Souls.
"It seems counterintuitive, but it's always been a part of what I know, when you give, you receive," Flavorman founder David Dafoe explained. "We always stuck to our core values of the philosophy of the company and the culture of the company and that's how we got through."
Flavorman not only raised $1,000, but it donated a pallet of shoes to the local Soles4Souls program.