Anytime you volunteer, there is the opportunity for a unique and magical experience.

Whether you’re rocking a child at the local children’s hospital or picking up trash in your community – there is a chance that your heartstrings will become vulnerable or a whole new world is revealed.

These special moments of clarity, appreciation, and/or inspiration don’t happen every time you volunteer your time and energy, BUT if you keep giving back, I PROMISE you will have one of these 


The 2009 Homeless Count provided one of those moments for a good friend of mine, her team, and the Fort Worth Police Officer who assisted their effort.

I wanted to share an e-mail thread between this team. (It is nothing short of tremendous.)

To help you completely understand their dialogue, here is a little background: With the guidance of Officer Rex Layton, they surveyed four homeless gentlemen that live under a bridge near downtown Fort Worth. That was only a small part of their eye-opening night in Fort Worth, but it may have been the most impactful.

(If you don’t feel like reading each e-mail – 
MAKE SURE you read the last one from Officer Layton.)

From: Kelly I.
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009
To: Layton, Walter R.
cc: Kristina B., Leslie H.
Subject: THANK YOU!

Officer REX!!!!!!

Hello there! I just wanted to THANK YOU again for making our experience so great last night. Leslie, Kristina and I are so glad we participated in the Homeless Count, and we are glad we got matched with you!

Thanks for knowing the spots, too! Meeting Kenny, Kevin, Don and Gary was such a valuable experience. As with most volunteering opportunities, I’m appreciative of gaining a new perspective. I also appreciate the way you treated them (as humans), and I appreciate the way you let us get in the middle of the action (in more ways than one!). I can’t get them off my mind today.

Thank you for helping to maximize our experience last night and more importantly, for the work you do. Please keep in touch, Adam516.

Have a great weekend.



From: Kristina B.
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009
Subject: Re: THANK YOU!

I had a great time, too! 

I’ve lived here all my life and was surprised to find that I still had a lot to learn about my city. 

I crawled into my bed last night and felt extra appreciative of my privileged life. At the same time, I was reminded that I could still have joy even if I didn’t have luxury material possessions, like Kevin when he said that the river is his bedroom window and he can look at the ducks and at night he can see and hear the owl. Thanks for the experience guys!



From: Leslie H.
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009
Subject: RE: THANK YOU!

I did have a great time. 

I thought I was prepared to be impacted by this experience, but I was wrong. 

Our first stop was intense, even though we didn’t get a chance to meet anyone. Just seeing the small hut-like home made out of tree branches was intense. Just to notice and see that whoever lived there – their lifestyle was almost animalistic. 

I know we all were pumped & really wanted a complete experience by meeting the homeless. I thought I knew what I was going to say, I thought I was ready. When we reached the bridge I was at a loss for words. Here we met some of the coolest, open homeless guys around. 

I was impressed by the fact that these gentlemen had come together and formed their own family unit – and they all addressed their spot under the bridge as “Home.” We all have an idea, or image of what home looks like, but nothing compared to these people & their perspectives on the world around them. 

Thank you again Kelly for the invite to join in.

Thank you to Kelly’s friend Drew for keying her in.

Thanks Kristina for keepin’ it real, it was really great meeting & hangin’ with you.

And a BIG THANK YOU to Officer Layton … (a.k.a. the coolest Rex we’ve ever met) for takin’ us on a spin through your beat & making it a complete experience.

Consumed by Compassion,



From: Layton, Rex
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009
To: Kelly, Leslie, Kristina
Subject: RE: THANK YOU!

Well thank you very much! 

I too appreciate what ya’ll did last night as well … it’s always very nice to meet such caring and considerate folks, who are kind people with kind hearts. 

As you can imagine, I see all types of people out in this world – whether it be criminals, homeless people, lower-class, middle-class, upper-class, good or bad people. I see them and encounter them all – most of the time its not a pleasant experience, but that just comes with the job! Nevertheless, I try and give all the benefit of the doubt, until shown otherwise….

But anyway the point I’m trying to make is that ya’ll reassured my hope in all of mankind by demonstrating your genuine care and concern for those in need … it is very refreshing to experience genuine goodness in people once in a while. It also motivates me to want to strive to be a better cop and reminds me why I became a cop – that is to serve and protect! 

If there’s anything I can do to help you please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me. Be safe!

Rex Layton-FWPD
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