If you have visited the Dawsonville Chick-fil-A restaurant at all in the past 10 years, you probably encountered Vicky Duran.
Always greeting customers with a friendly smile and remembering all of her most loyal patrons, Duran started out as a dining room hostess working a few days a week but loved the job so much she began to work six days a week, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
During the past few years Duran worked as catering manager, delivering food to schools and at other catered events around the area.
Duran died June 23, 2017, at age 53.
"She started work around the same time I did, and I grew up around her," said Desiree Cavener, who works in human resources at the restaurant. "She was like a second mom. She was the type of person who had a heart of servitude like no one had ever seen, she always thought of others before herself. She will definitely be missed."
Cavener said that since Duran's passing, her coworkers have not only been able to truly see the impact she made on the Chick-fil-A team, but also on the whole community, from the regulars whose orders she had memorized to the schools in Dawson and Forsyth that she delivered food to.
"Our hearts are broken today as we mourn the sudden loss of one of our own," reads a post on the Dawsonville restaurant's Facebook page. "Ms. Vicky was more than a team member, she was our cheerleader, our mother hen, our protector...she was our family. She touched so many lives. We are so incredibly thankful for the 10 years she shared with us."
Within four hours of Chick-fil-A announcing the news of Duran's passing on the page, more than 500 people had expressed condolences and sadness over the loss.
But the love that Duran radiated, and that others felt for her, was something that couldn't be quantified.
Commenters stated Duran was positive, hardworking, "the sweetest" and "always smiling."
Commenter and Chick-fil-A frequenter Christy Talley-Clark said Duran was "a light on a cloudy day."
"She was such an amazing woman and always so sweet," Talley-Clark wrote. "My daughter could live on Chick-fil-A and always got big hugs from her."
Dawson County High School Counselor Kate Jarrard, formerly of Dawson County Middle School, said that Duran always took care of the students of the month and staff at the middle school.
"She was so sweet and kind to me and always went above and beyond for our students at Riverview Middle School (now DCMS)," Jarrard said. "She always made me feel like I was the most important person around and I know she made everyone feel that way. She would personally oversee our orders for the students of the month breakfasts and then for our monthly attendance awards lunches and even write the kids' names on the lunches.
"What made her special was that she made everyone feel like we were special to her whether she knew us or not. She will be deeply missed by our community because of her love for the people here."
Duran's obituary states that Duran was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend who put her family first and was a God-fearing woman whose testimony touched thousands.
"She loved everyone and never met a stranger," the obituary reads.
Duran was preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Barbara Evans, and two brothers, Jacky and John Evans.
Duran is survived by her husband of 29 years, Allen Duran, her son and daughter-in-law, Rev. Andrew and Whitney Duran; son Marcus Duran; granddaughter, Austyn Duran; sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Jerry Mitchell; brother and sister-in-law, Tommy and Tammy Evans; father and mother-in-law, Thurman and Amelia Duran; sister and brother-in-law, George and Becky Hermann; and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held Sunday, June 25 at 3 p.m. at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church with Rev. Andrew Duran, Rev. Jack Pilcher and Rev. Vernie Worley officiating. Interment followed in the church ceremony.
The family received friends at the funeral home Saturday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Ingram Funeral Home in Cumming was in charge of the arrangements.