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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Silver Taps: Miranda Elizabeth Meckel

Photo by Provided

Miranda Elizabeth Meckel, a graduate student in the family nurse practitioner program, will be honored at the Silver Taps ceremony being held in Academic Plaza on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10:30 p.m.

A selfless daughter and friend who never knew a stranger, commanded a room and hoped to help others heal.
Born in Houston on Aug. 15, 1995, to parents Kevin and DeAnn Mitchell, Miranda was a strong-willed person from a young age. She was a planner, who constantly strived for the next move and worked to achieve her goals while preparing for the next.
Her parents said, even as a young child, Miranda was not afraid to speak her mind and was confident in the choices she made, which translated into her job as an ER nurse at CHI St. Joseph Hospital.
“They loved her [at the hospital],” Kevin said. “In fact, one of the doctors told us that she would call and ask who’s working [that night] because they wanted to work on the same shift with Miranda. She was not just a ‘yes man,’ she would question them and would challenge them and a good doctor will appreciate that.”
Not only was she highly loved at work, DeAnn said Miranda never knew a stranger and would make friends everywhere, including school, work and church camp as a child.
“She was not shy at all, she could connect with almost anyone,” DeAnn said. “Within a few minutes, you felt like you knew her. People felt like [they had] known her forever and they just met. She used that [skill] in her nursing and in everything that she did.”
Miranda’s love of horses began young, starting lessons at 11 years old with coach Becky Hellums-Hendricks. It was this love of horses that would propel Miranda to compete with various rodeo outlets including the Fort Bend County Youth Rodeo Association, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and Texas A&M Rodeo Team and to become a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo “Horspitality” team.
“She was so passionate about horses,” Hellum-Hendricks said. “She was so talented. [Her] love and who she was really came through to the horse as well.”
Her mother said she would constantly spread her love of horses to her friends as well and always included them on chores and errands so they could learn to love the rodeo world, too.
“She pulled people into what she did,” DeAnn said. “Everybody ended up being a horse person and loving horses or knowing something about horses, whether you wanted to or not. Miranda just pulled people together. Whatever she was doing, she involved everyone around her.”
As she got older, she began to help younger kids, much like herself, find horses of their own and learn how to ride so they could compete in rodeo.
“All of it was natural, not just her riding ability, but [also] her natural ability to spot a good one and spot problems,” DeAnn said. “One of her junior high girls that she gave lessons to went to state in poles last spring on a horse that [Miranda] found for her.”
Though their relationship began through horse lessons, Hellums-Hendricks said her love of Miranda grew through a friendship they had outside of lessons. With activities such as grabbing lunch or just chatting about life, Hellums-Hendricks said Miranda always knew how to brighten her day.
“She was one of the best people you’re ever going to know,” Hellum-Hendricks said. “She took care of her patients that way. She took care of her friends that way, she took [care of] her husband that way and she cared for horses that way.”
June 1, 2019, was a great day for Miranda, as she married the love of her life, Trent Meckel. She knew early on that Trent was the one. To top off the day, a few hours before the wedding, Miranda received her NCLEX scores and was then designated as a registered nurse.
Trent said Miranda constantly lived out the A&M Core Values in everyday life and strived to help anyone in any situation.
“Those Core Values were her. If someone was just to describe Miranda, I think even without being an Aggie, and not knowing the Core Values, [you would say], ‘She lived up to all those values,’” Trent said. “It wasn’t because she was an Aggie, it was just how good of a person she was.”
Constantly keeping busy with friends and family, her patients and her horses, Miranda had time for it all, Trent said.
“Somehow she found 28 hours in a day. She could get more done in one day than I think anyone could ever do,” Trent said. “She kept everyone on their toes. She loved helping people and would give her shirt off her back to anyone, regardless of what was going on.”
In addition to all her hard work, Trent said Miranda will be remembered for her goofiness, which is something he particularly enjoyed.
“She walked into a room and nothing could keep her down,” Trent said. “She was just always silly, there was never a dull moment.”
Miranda’s love of others was truly shown through the lives she impacted, Hellum-Hendricks said, which was evident in the number of friends who she visited regularly, and she was never afraid to lend a helping hand.
“In all my years I’ve never met a friend like her. I mean, even with all the years between us,” Hellums-Hendricks said. “For me knowing her as long as I did, and just seeing what she would do [for others]. She would do whatever she [could] to help me, among many other people. She [could] anticipate what we would need or what they would need and she’d sacrifice her own time.”
During her prerequisites for nursing school, Miranda befriended Linda Yallonardo, and their relationship quickly grew over their love of animals. Yallonardo said Miranda was a very driven person, giving her everything to nursing, her horses and simply in her day-to-day interactions.
“[Miranda was] a force of nature. I’ve never met anybody like her,” Yallonardo said. “She was somebody that owned the room, and she would make friends with everybody and their dogs. People were just drawn to her all the time, she was just a very bright person, always in a good mood.”
Yallonardo said Miranda worked hard for her goals with her horses and dedicated a lot of time to the craft, though without knowing it, Miranda was constantly serving as an inspiration to all those around her.
“[Miranda was] somebody [who] could have a goal and go for it, visualize it and know that you can get there,” Yallonardo said. “I don’t think she ever knew things that were impossible, she would just go for it; that’s one [thing] that I can keep in mind and [plan] to honor her by [continuing to] do that.”
In her honor, a foundation, Miranda’s Nurses on Horses, is being created to award scholarships to nursing students who are as passionate about horses and rodeo as Miranda was. The family is anticipating to award the first scholarship for fall 2022 semester. To date, the fund has collected over $30,000 through a combination of Venmo, GoFundMe and direct donations.
“It’s really hard to be a horse person once you get to college because it takes a lot of time. It’s hard to have space for it and financially, it’s difficult,” Kevin said. “The scholarship was just to keep Miranda’s legacy going. She did a good job already on her own, but to help other students that are doing hard things [like the] medical field and keeping your horses, that’s a full time thing.”

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