THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- Nearly one year after a devastating mass shooting that altered a Ventura County community, one of the fallen heroes of the tragedy is being honored.
Sgt. Ron Helus, one of the 12 victims of the shooting, was one of the first responders at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, taking heavy fire from the gunman.
On Wednesday, a 3.4-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway was designated as the Sgt. Ronald Lee Helus Memorial Highway. The stretch of dedicated highway, between Hampshire Road and Lynn Road, runs along the Borderline bar.
Helus, whose actions helped save the 248 people who made it out of the bar alive, cemented his memory as one of a hero. For those who worked with him, his bravery was no surprise.
"He's a warrior, definitely a hero in our minds and the community has really been there to support Ron and his endeavors and what he meant that night," Sgt. Greg Webb with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.
MORE: Sgt. Ron Helus' widow reflects 1 year after the Borderline shooting
His wife, Karen, listened to the events unfold on a phone app that monitors police radio traffic when she hadn't heard from him .
"I didn't realize the magnitude of it and then as it progressed and I heard him and more and more was happening, I got anxious and nervous...yeah and then they said they were making entry, and I thought, oh wow don't go in there, but I knew he would. That just was him," she said. "He wasn't going to let those people be hurt if he could help it."
While the healing process continues to for the Helus family and the sheriff's department, residents say they also struggle with the tragedy.
"Everyone in this town had a connection to someone who was in there. Sgt. Helus was partnered with one of my dear friends, so the connective tissue is remarkable," said Thousand Oaks resident Marcella Ketelhut.
Borderline shooting timeline: How the tragedy unfolded
ONE YEAR LATER: It was 48 hours that changed one Southland community forever. The horror of the Borderline shooting followed up by the destruction of the Woolsey Fire just hours later. Now Eyewitness News returns to the Ventura County community ravaged by fire and hate, to witness rebirth and healing a year later. All this week at 4, 5 & 11 p.m. from ABC7.