Hillsborough Deputies Honor Special PDQ Employee

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Hillsborough deputies honored Sam Piazza for the help he's given to the sheriffs office.

It's been five years since Sam Piazza first slipped on a PD0 apron. Its felt like home ever since.

I love my job,' the 28-year-old said. It's been almost six years.'

The proud PDQ-er has Down Syndrome. He spends his time behind the counter at the chicken restaurant prepping ingredients for dishes_ He also has befriended many of the customers at the Carrollwood location, including many men and women in uniform.

`I'm a better person for knowing him, for sure,' said Hillsborough County sheriffs Deputy Tyler Wilson. "He's very well connected. I joke it's like walking around with the mayor.

Every time you walk around with him somebody knows him, shakes hands with him, says hello to him.'

On Wednesday morning, the HCSO sent a dozen deputies to honor Piazza with a plaque, a 'token of our gratitude' as Wilson calLed it, for all the help hers shown to the department over the years.

`You deserve it," Wilson said as he hugged Piazza_ A few tears followed_ `When I first got that plaque, it was the best thing that ever happened to me," said Piazza.

Piazza took it upon himself to meet with sheriffs deputies, to help them better understand how to interact with people like him. Piazza has helped deputies by explaining how many people with Down Syndrome prefer 10 talk with strangers in groups. The department uses his lessons as a guide when interacting with people in the community.

"What makes him special is he does a lot of stuff with his family.' said his 10-year-old cousin, Ellie Huriziker.

The restaurant chain even named an ice cream sandwich after Piazza. The 'Sweet Sammy' is vanilla ice cream between two gingersnap cookies.

It's another example of a sweet honor for a beloved member of the community.

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