"I don't think words could express how much I would give for just one more," Sarah Carpenter said.
Kirk Carpenter expressed gratitude for the support given by the community to the families. "Your empathy has brought comfort at this difficult time," he said.
Some of the assembled firefighters could relate to the Coos Bay department's turmoil only too well. The Seattle Fire Department, for example, sent a fire engine, command vehicle, 10 firefighters and an honor guard.
"In 1995, we lost four firefighters," said Lt. Bob Myers of the Seattle department. "The pain is still there. We know what they are going through. It's very important we come and support them."
That support included a $12,000 contribution for the families of the three killed firefighters - $9,000 in donations from individual firefighters and the rest from relief and officer organizations within the department.
At such a tragic time, Myers said, firefighters may be tempted to retire or quit.
But part of the reason for the Seattle contingent coming, he said, was to reinforce the message that survivors in the department must carry on.
Mark Wessel, chief of the Keokuk, Iowa, Fire Department, learned of Coos Bay's loss when he got a call from Chief Gibson asking how his department handled a memorial service when it lost three firefighters in a house fire on Dec. 22, 1999.
Wessel told about the Iowa arrangements and offered to come to Oregon to support Gibson and his department in their time of need.
Wessel talked last week to members of the Coos Bay department about what they can expect ahead. He told him they would never get over their grief, but that the bonds among them will almost certainly grow stronger.
"And they will most probably become a better department," he said.