THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- Marine veteran Dan Manrique was two weeks into his dream job for team red white and blue, helping other veterans transition from military to civilian life. Manrique had just arrived at the Borderline Bar and Grill to meet co-workers that fateful November night one year ago.
"I don't think that it will ever feel real," said Gladys Koscak, Manrique's younger sister.
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Koscak says Manrique was a protective, loving brother who was passionate about working with veterans. The four Manrique kids grew up in Thousand Oaks where their parents still live.
"There have been so many moments when I want to reach out and send that text and I just know he's not going to respond," said Koscak.
We interviewed Koscak outside the Borderline Bar and Grill, now a memorial to the 12 victims and a place the Manrique family frequents. This is where they feel closest to Manrique. Once a week, they attend a support group with some of the other Borderline families. Power in numbers has helped the Manrique family deal with their grief and survive the bad days.
"Knowing that we can connect with people that know exactly what that morning felt like has been really helpful. This community has come together, has supported us. All of the families, our law enforcement, our district attorney, like everyone has continued to hold us and support us for the last 11 months and there's really no sign of them going anywhere either," said Koscak.
Koscak says one of the hardest parts has been witnessing the continuation of mass shootings across the country.
"It's incredibly triggering to watch this happen over and over again and our minds immediately go to the families that are in that same spot of shock and grief. I would love for this to never happen again. The thought that my kids will have to do active shooter trainings at school is not even something that I can comprehend," said Koscak.
What the Manrique family has been forced to comprehend is that Dan isn't coming home. He was an American hero who survived a deployment to Afghanistan but lost his life in his hometown at a bar. His family hopes more attention is brought to the mental health crisis in this country so less families can identify with their pain.