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Two Airport Volunteers Plan Nuptials After Chance Meeting at Service Desk
By Pamela Wilson

Terminal South is red, Terminal North is blue;
Erin and Neal will soon say “I do.”

That could well be the ballad of Erin Klank and Neal Bowen, who met two years ago while both were serving as Host Volunteers at Hartsfield-Jackson’s main information desk. Neal, who began volunteering in late 2004, and Erin, who started in March 2005, worked different shifts that normally would not have caused their paths to cross.

But that changed in May 2005 when Neal worked a different shift for just one day and ended up sharing information desk duty with Erin. A recent college grad, who had majored in Spanish, Erin was employed at her family’s Atlanta area restaurant. But a desire to use her Spanish fluency to help people combined with a news segment she saw about the Airport Volunteer program led her to the volunteer post.

“I really enjoy being able to assist (people) who need guidance or directions in the massive airport,” Erin said, noting that she often helps Spanish-speaking passengers connect with arriving relatives. “It’s a difficult place to navigate for people who do speak English. I often wonder what would happen in these cases without an interpreter.”

Neal, an Army officer, who was newly stationed in Atlanta when he and Erin met, also had a desire for civic service. A former volunteer at Denver International Airport, his desire to serve others also led him to join the military, Erin added.

The two volunteers never dreamed their public service work would lead them down the path of romance. But it wasn’t long before they were getting to know each other. They both loved to travel and began to take trips together to various destinations including Germany, New York and the North Georgia mountains. About a year and a half after they met, Neal popped the question while they were on a Caribbean cruise celebrating Erin’s birthday. Neal hid the engagement ring inside a piece of chocolate candy, much to the surprise of his now-fiancé.

The two volunteers haven’t allowed their pending nuptials to hinder their volunteer work. Both still put in several hours a week at Hartsfield-Jackson. However, that will likely change next year because Neal is scheduled to be transferred from Atlanta in December 2008.

Erin says she plans to find another volunteer opportunity in which she can serve as an interpreter. “It’s a great feeling to help people as they come through the Airport,” she said. “I’m glad I can be there for them.”

© 2007 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.


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Airport volunteers, Erin and Neal, plan nuptials

Airport volunteers,
Erin and Neal, plan nuptials