NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Sunday, friends, fellow officers and community members hosted a special workout at Strong Barbell Club for Officer Daniel Vasquez who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday during a traffic stop.
“You know this is our final workout, final workout together,” Eddie Barajas, a friend of Vasquez and member of Strong Barbell Club, said Sunday.
It was a workout to remembering honoring the life and legacy of Vasquez.
“He’s here with us today for a fact he is here," Barajas said. "He can spot us one last time, hype us up one last time."
Barajas says the intense workout was a reflection of how his friend “Danny” liked to train.
“I chose what I chose for it which was the dead lifts, that’s because Danny was a powerlifter,” Barajas said. “The rest of it was the kettle bells and the burpees mainly because it was something hard it was functional and anyone can do it anywhere.”
The gym's co-owner J.P. Price said while his friend couldn't be there to participate in the workout, he believes Vasquez would be humbled to be remembered this way.
“While it sucks, it gives you a chance to think about it over and over," Price said. "About all the other things that suck about it and why we are here, and it just puts things into perspective."
Many of the fallen officer's friends, including Matthew Burns participated in the intense workout, pushed through and pulled together and did not throw in the towel.
“I was holding back tears and just carrying that emotion with me through the workout,” Burns said. “Just the pain of the workout is nothing compared to what we are feeling In general or what his family is feeling or what the North Kansas City Police Department is feeling.”
Brian Morehouse, a close friend of Officer Vasquez, remembered the good times in and outside of the gym. Those memories helped keep his head high during the workout.
“He was carrying a message of family community brother hood wherever he went, “ Morehouse said. “I just went into it with that same mentality of, 'Alright we are going to get through it, we are going to have a good time, we are going to get done, we are going to talk with all of our friends, and we are going to make a memory that we can tell later on.'”
Barajas and others say the soreness in their muscles does not compare to the pain in their hearts.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how hard a workout is," Barahas said. "It’s not as hard as losing a brother."
Other friends like Jeff Frank were overcome with emotion thinking back to how much Vasquez wanted to become a police officer.
“He was always happy, always proud. I’d say the most annoying thing about him was that he always wanted to be a cop," Frank said. "He never stopped talking about it and then he did it and then some guy took him away."
Police officer Kate Manz, was among those who considered Vasquez a close friend. Manz told KSHB 41 News she's still processing his friend's passing.
“ I just kind of know how it goes and know how it feels. I was excepting to feel those feelings, it still doesn’t really feel real, it still hasn’t really set in yet, even though its been a few days,” Manz said. “I’m just kind of waiting for that but it’s hard, no matter what. Whether you know the officer or not if you are one you feel it.”
According to Vasquez’s friends, he was not just a great motivator in the gym, but he had a heart of gold.
“He had a kind heart. He was always happy to see everybody. He was always willing to help out and it’s a shame he’s gone,” friend Cydney Bushue said. “He was so young; He was a groomsmen at my wedding and he was just one of the best people you could ever meet.”
“He just always really really tried hard in the gym, so when we saw him, he just always had a really good energy and a smile,” friend Michael Greeno said. “Talking to him and stuff, he just enjoyed training and doing the things that he did but he never trivialized it.”
On Sunday friends, police officers, and community members endured the pain, in honor of Danny, to get back on their feet for that final set.
“When you’re out there on that hot turf doing the push ups or or the lunges or whatever, you know with the history with Danny,” friend Anthony Overbay said. “You can hear him hyping you up, telling you to keep going, pushing through it because that's just how Danny was.”
“It’s not every often you see somebody chase their dreams, reach it and then lose it, but being remembered by doing something as silly as working out would’ve made him happy.” Frank said.