Fallen Firefighter Memorial: 'It's a very honoring feeling'

COOS BAY, Ore. -- 73 firefighters who died in active duty in 2012, along with 8 from previous years, were honored over the weekend in Maryland.

Ever since the Coos Bay Fire Department lost three of their own in the line of duty, they've been sending a representative east to Maryland for the annual US Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

They did so again this year to pay tribute to those who have fallen.

Jeff Adkins, a firefighter engineer, says it means a lot to them to make the trip. "It's a very honoring feeling to be able to go back and represent both our department, and then, just to be able to help escort the families and assist them through the process," Adkins said.

Adkins says while Coos Bay hasn't lost a firefighter in the line of duty since 2002, it's still emotional going to the ceremony. "You can kind of relate that it could be your family going through the same thing or it could be your co-workers families doing the same thing," he said.

While the government shutdown forced the ceremony to a back-up site, the families weren't going to be turned away from the memorial itself. "We were able to get the families onto the campus for them to be able to see the national memorial for about two hours," said Adkins.

The US Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service is the annual kick off to fire prevention week, which is going on right now.