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Beloved food truck run by couple with Down syndrome wins major award


Two Heber Valley families found a sweet way to ensure their kids with special needs have employment opportunities…and they recently won a major award for it.

“Sell treats. Make people happy.” That’s the premise of the tate&hanna food truck which sells homemade ice cream, cookies and dirty soda concoctions.

Hanna Homer and Tate Davies–who are both in their 20s and have Down syndrome–were recently awarded the George Washington Honor Medal in the youth community category by the Utah Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Ellen Folke, a member of the awards committee, said Tate and Hanna are great ambassadors. “They give to their community so much more than snacks. Their food truck is a second type of vehicle, one that provides education, awareness, understanding and inspiration.”

George Washington Honor Medal Ceremony
George Washington Honor Medal Ceremony

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 80% of people with disabilities are unemployed. Tate’s dad J.W. wants to create the Heber Valley Center for Learning, a center for continued education for special needs individuals who have graduated from high school. He ran into roadblocks with the Wasatch School District and in the interim, is doing what he can to provide opportunities for Tate and Hanna. 

“They're kind of stuck; they don't get to progress after high school and go to college so their options are limited," he said. "What we're hoping is to give Tate and Hanna a chance to continue to interact with people in the community through this food truck and being able to serve delicious ice cream and keep that social part of their life up.”

Tate and Hanna may serve up sweet treats but as their tagline, “I’m down,” states, they also serve up the fun. The food truck opened in 2021 and written next to the truck’s name is the play on words, “Established trisomy 21,” alluding to the extra number 21 chromosome that causes Down syndrome.

Hanna and Tate receiving the George Washington Honor Medal
Hanna and Tate receiving the George Washington Honor Medal

Hanna and Tate said the food truck regularly appears at Heber Market on Main and at private events. “I like to interact and give everybody drinks and we sell homemade ice cream and we love hugs," said Hanna. 

Tate's favorite job is getting drinks. His signature beverage? “Tate’s ‘The Scooby’” with root beer and cream while his sweetheart’s favorite is “The Hanna Surf” with diet coke, vanilla and coconut.

The families help out in the food truck but make no mistake: Hanna and Tate are the star attractions. “[We like] to spread happiness and be there for one another. So it's kind of a big deal," said Hanna. 

And so is winning the George Washington Honor Medal and the hearts of their community.