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More than a :-)

By Kelly Morris '04

Personal interaction is becoming an endangered trait.

So many people today prefer e-mailing or calling instead of meeting face-to-face. Nearly gone are the days where you can laugh with friends and actually see them laugh with you.

But there are exceptions, and I met a special one during TCU LEAPS, the university's annual community service day.

His name is Anton Watkins, and he wasn't a TCU student or a registered volunteer. He was the bus driver who took 28 volunteers to the Stonegate Nursing Center, one of the day's 26 sites.

At the center, volunteers put up Halloween decorations and visited with residents in their rooms and common areas.

When the group arrived, Anton was told to meet them back in front of the center in two hours. He could have agreed and bought some coffee. Read a paper. After all, it was still only 9:30 in the morning.

But Anton wouldn't have it that way. He wanted to volunteer, too. So he stood in the hallway of the nursing home, the only volunteer not wearing a TCU LEAPS t-shirt, laughing and smiling just as much as the resident sitting beside him in her wheelchair. He was a listening ear and a companion.

As we entered the nursing home, each volunteer received a friendship bracelet to wear. Anton quickly gave his to one of the residents, telling her, "You're my friend."

"I just want to bring some sunshine to the group," he said. "I'm a people person. You help out when you can."

Anton did more than just bring sunshine to the residents of the Stonegate Nursing Center. He restored my faith in the human spirit and our need to experience life with others face-to-face.

Kelly is The TCU Magazine intern. Contact her at