Police honor Chick-Fil-A worker with Down syndrome as she battle - WSMV News 4

Police honor Chick-Fil-A worker with Down syndrome as she battles cancer

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For years, people from all over one Middle Tennessee city have been treated to the same friendly, familiar face. Her smile hasn't faded even in the face of a major obstacle.

Thursday, those people showed how much they care.

"It's nice that they see your smile," said Vicki Hildreth of Clarksville, sitting next to her daughter, Katie, on a porch swing.

"It's nice that they see my smile," Katie said.

If you catch Katie, one thing's likely.

"They're probably going to see me smiling," she laughed. "I have a lot of friends. I'm very blessed. I just want to make sure I smile every day."

Vicki said Katie, who has Down syndrome, brings her smile every day as she works at Chick-Fil-A and volunteers at Tennova Healthcare.

"You talk to them about their families, and you get to know them," said Vicki, talking to Katie.

Lately, Katie hasn't been able to go to work.

"That was kind of scary for me," Katie said. "I didn't know until the doctor told me."

"She was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma," Vicki said. "The doctor told us if you have to choose a cancer, that's the one you want to choose because it's very treatable. We'll get through this journey and have a positive outcome."

"Sometimes I do feel a little bit weak," Katie continued. "My mom has to take care of me. Sometimes I get good days. Sometimes I get bad days."

"Keeping you close in prayer and heart, sincerely Mr. G," Vicki read, going through a pile of get well cards.

While Katie undergoes treatment, the cards have been pouring in. Some are from strangers. Some are from longtime friends.

"We're praying for you Katie, Pastor Bill," Vicki read from another card.

There's no doubt, many want to see Katie fight through it, especially after Thursday.

A police car drove Katie to the parking lot behind the Chick-Fil-A parking lot on Madison Street. Clarksville police, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department and dozens from other city and county offices gathered to greet Katie. They wanted to give a thank you to Katie for bringing her smile to them for so long.

"You are an absolutely astounding individual," one law enforcement representative told Katie.

She was presented with a plaque with badges from several city and county departments.

"Katie, you have continued to be a shining inspiration to the people of Montgomery County. We are proud to call you our friend and know you're always in our hearts," the plaque read, in part.

"We had no idea how many people loved Katie," Vicki said. "We knew we loved her, but we had no idea how many other people in the community loved Katie."

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