Hundreds of people came together to honor and remember Marky Meza, Jr., at The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.
The former Carpinteria High School student was killed on Nov. 7 in the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. Meza had recently started working at Borderline.
The 20-year-old would have turned 21 on Monday, Nov. 19. Instead his family, friends and the community celebrated his life, without him, on Sunday, Nov. 18, one day before his birthday.
Local law enforcement, including Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, and officers from the Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks Police Departments showed up to pay their respects.
Reverend Erik Wiebe began the celebration with a moment of silence for the families of the other victims of the shooting.
A video tribute featuring music composed by Meza, Jr., was played before the crowd, many wiping tears from their eyes. Two other songs written by Meza, Jr., were also played.
Meza’s uncle, Kevin Marsh said his nephew was, “selfless, loved by his peers and had a smile that lit up the room.”
One of young man’s last posts on social media read, “I believe in the person I want to become.”
Family members said they are still coming to terms with the fact that they will have to live without “the compassionate, spirited young man,” they loved so deeply.
In a statement, Meza’s father, Mark, said, “If Marky wasn’t senselessly taken from us, we would be turning to him now for comfort during this unbelievably difficult time.”
“We are so lucky to have had Marky in our lives,” he continued. “He had the biggest heart and deepest soul. Marky was a genuine light everywhere he went and wanted nothing more than to make people happy and bring smiles to everyone around him. He obtained so much joy and energy from being around people that loved him, just like we got from being his presence.
The family has established the Mark (Marky) Meza Jr. Foundation and asks for donations, in lieu of flowers.
To donate, click here.