By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer
She loved lipstick, Bratz dolls and sunglasses.
She voluntarily completed household chores.
She loved to help others.
Family and friends of 7-year-old Mireya Zapata Rascon shared stories about her too-short life on Saturday, mostly remembering her smile and charisma.
“She was very vibrant, very electrifying. There was never a dull moment when she was around. She lit up anywhere she walked in,” said her uncle, Randy Zapata of San Antonio, Texas.
Mireya died Thursday when she was struck by a vehicle while crossing the Arch Highway (N.M. 88) on her way home from a neighbor’s house.
Zapata said he and his brother always had a close relationship with Mireya.
“Every one of her first moments she would call me and let me know about it,” he said.
She called him the first time she jumped off the low dive at the Portales City Pool, Zapata said.
Mireya also gained notoriety at the Portales pool earlier this summer.
Marisa Rascon, Mireya’s mother, said a 5-year-old friend fell into the adult pool. Marisa Rascon screamed that the child was under water. Mireya swam to help the little girl, then held her in the air until a lifeguard arrived.
Janice Lopez, the mother of the girl who fell in the pool, said Mireya should be remembered as a hero.
“She saved my little girl,” Lopez said. “The family was all proud of her and she was so proud of herself too.”
Family members said Mireya loved to learn and was already making plans to go to college and become a lawyer. But she didn’t miss out on being a little girl, often prissing around in lipstick, jewelry and sunglasses. Like her mother, she had multiple pairs of sunglasses.
“To me when I think about her now I just see her smile,” said her uncle, Raymon Zapata. “You were always drawn to her. She was one of the very few people you’ll ever meet that just has that charisma and draws you towards her.”
New Mexico State Police reported the accident occurred at 4:40 p.m. on Thursday. The driver of the vehicle, 29-year-old Aaron Bales, was not injured. No citations were issued.
April Kirkpatrick, former teacher: “She was a very giving student always wanting to help others. She really did enjoy school. She was a very good student and any teacher would have been lucky to have her.”