Hannah Angel Mozisek came home from elementary school one day tired of peers asking her why she did not look like everybody else.

“Kids obviously asked her questions all the time because she didn’t have her right arm and only had half of her left leg,” her mom, Miranda Mozisek said. “Finally ... one day, we told her just to tell them a story.

“She told them that a shark bit her arm and part of her leg off so that they would stop asking.”

A good sense of humor was one of many cornerstones in Mozisek’s life. The Goliad-Victoria native died June 17 at 21 years old.

She was born with a rare conditional called amniotic band syndrome, which caused her arms, legs and head to develop abnormally. Doctors told Miranda and Kevin Mozisek their daughter would likely not live when they found out about her condition four months into their pregnancy, Advocate archives show.

But Mozisek lived for 21 years and managed to lead a full, happy life despite having to endure more than 50 surgeries and use a prosthetic leg to walk, her mom said.

“No matter what problems she was having, what she looked like and her disabilities, she would show up to school smiling, ready to go,” she said. “She just had this outgoing personality that took over the room when she came in.”

Mozisek was known in her family for telling everyone they were her favorite.

“That was the running joke, especially with her aunts and uncles,” her mom said. “She would always tell you, ‘You know you’re my favorite, right? But don’t tell the other ones.’”

Sgt. Ruben San Miguel, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, was among those favorites. He said he developed a special bond with his niece the day she was born.

“When you first saw her, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for her,” San Miguel said. “But when you started talking to her, even with the disabilities she had, she was a regular person and she didn’t want to be treated differently.”

San Miguel said Mozisek was always interested in his job. She enjoyed sitting in his patrol car and having lunch with him at school while he was in uniform. She even had a ‘My Uncle is a State Trooper’ T-shirt.

“She loved that shirt. She wore it all the time,” he said. “Through all the years of military, the no-quit attitude became my motto, and no one displayed that more than her. She was a special person, really was, and she inspired me each day.”

In 2017, Mozisek won homecoming queen at Goliad High School, which her mom said she was “over-the-top excited about.”

Her school aide, Teresa Parker, said she feels blessed to have been able to work with her every day at school, from fourth to 12th grade.

“I don’t know if there really are words for what she meant to me,” she said. “She always wanted to be a teacher, and I don’t think Hannah really realized how much she was already teaching others in the way she lived and led her life.”

At times, Parker said she was ‘Hannah’s other arm’ in the classroom.

“We would do projects in science, like experiments, and we would work together on it,” she said. “There were times when some of the other students were wanting to give up and they would see Hannah just working, and it would make them keep going.”

Parker said Mozisek loved having her picture taken and would return from summer break eager to tell her about time spent at Texas Lions Camp, which she attended for six years.

“She was such a happy, happy person,” she said. “She was just a very loving person, and I, in my heart, believe that she loved so much because she had such a loving family.”

When Mozisek was not in school, she was often at New Image salon in Goliad, where she was a fixture, said her grandmother, Mary Flores, who owns the salon.

Mozisek greeted guests and spent time getting to know each of them.

“She made life interesting every day; that is just how she was,” her grandmother said. “She would take a title from you, like if my co-workers weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing, she would tell them, ‘Well, you know, I am going to have to fire you. My Nana said I can fire you.”

There are endless memories with Mozisek that Flores will cherish and handwritten letters from her that she plans to keep forever, she said.

“It is so hard because she held such a special place in our hearts, but I realize that God gives and he takes, and it was time to give back,” she said.

The last thing Flores did with her granddaughter was ride with her in a helicopter from Citizens Medical Center to a larger hospital where she died, she said.

“Before we took off, I told her, ‘Hannah, me and you are going to ride with the angels,’” she said. “Then we were off, and she left me behind – she kept flying.”

Kali Venable is a public safety reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at kvenable@vicad.com.

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Public Safety Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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