Westlake Village Remembers Sergeant Ron Helus
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On the bright and warm morning of Wednesday, November 15, hundreds of first responders gathered in the neighborhood of Westlake, California, to honor Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant Ron Helus, who was killed responding to the mass shooting at the BorderLine Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on the night of November 7. A public service was held at the Calvary Community Church, where first responders, friends, and family gathered to honor Helus, and his 29 years of service to the Ventura Sheriff’s Department.
Jacob Holt, who has been with the Ventura County Sheriff’s department for 14 years, was stationed with and worked alongside Helus, recalled: “One of the best things about Ron, [when] he did his briefings as a patrol sergeant, he always told his deputies to be mentally prepared. [Ron’s] big thing to his crew was take care of each other, be safe, but also just to be mentally prepared. If you put your mind in a certain situation and prepare, when that situation actually occurs, you would react automatically, you know, you don’t have to think about it. That was a big thing he told his shift every time.”
First responders from as far north as Sacramento, to as far south as San Diego travelled to West Lake to pay their respect to Helus, who was regarded by many as a local hero. Though most did not know Helus personally, the bond among first responders compelled many to participate and stand in solidarity. Police, fire, and state park vehicles congregated at the Calvary Community Church, displaying a plethora of California liveries, and creating a shield of a blue around the ceremony that would later escort Sergeant Helus to his final resting place.
Along with first responders, many residents from Ventura County, as well as Helus’ friends and family, gathered for the noon service. Destiny Malibu, whose sister Desiree Malibu was at the BorderLine Bar & Grill shooting on the night of November 7, came to the service to honor Ron Helus “as a hero,” explaining, “He’s a hero by definition. We will forever honor him and remember him for saving so many lives, including my sisters.”
Destiny explained that, although her sister Desiree was going through a tough emotional time, and could not attend the service, Desiree saw him as a hero. “What he did for my sister, and so many other people… That community at BorderLine is really a family. They are all there for each other, and they all helped each other," recalled Destiny.
Destiny and her family, like many other residents in West Lake, have also had to deal with the fallout of the Woolsey Fire, which has burned across Malibu and Ventura Counties, recently learning they had lost their home in the flames, “It’s difficult to have your sister in a shooting, and have your childhood life-long home burn down the next day is a lot to process.”
Services at the Calvary Community Church concluded in the early afternoon, a procession of Ventura County and neighboring county Sheriff’s, escorted Ron Helus’ body to his final resting place at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in West Lake. Passing under a tall American flag fluttering in the midday wind, held aloft from the extended ladders of two fire engines, the procession was met with rows of local residents, some veterans, waving American and “Blue Lives Matter” flags.
As the procession arrived, groups of various California veteran’s organizations lined the roadway, standing in full detail, and saluting Helus, along with police and fire department officers.
Doug Henderson, a scout leader with the local Ventura Boy Scouts of America brought out his troupe to the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park to witness the procession and pay tribute to Helus, who they regarded as a local hero, explaining, “The sacrifices that these first responders make on a daily basis, and this person made the ultimate sacrifice. He’s from our town, he protects our people.”
Sergeant Ron Helus was 54 years old, and was scheduled to retire in 2019 with 30 years of service to the Ventura County Sheriff’s office.
Update : On November 18,2018 , changes were made to the article to ensure accuracy .