by: contributed photo, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Keaton G. Coffey

To say that U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Keaton G. Coffey was just the most recent soldier to be killed in Afghanistan would be to ignore what he has meant to many of the people who live in the Boring/Damascus area.

Those people, many who knew him personally and others who had never met him, poured into Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring on Monday, filling the two-level theater-style church to capacity.

Outside the church to greet those who came to celebrate Coffey's life was the church's flag, flying at half-staff, as well as an even larger flag mounted between ladders rising to the sky atop two aerial ladder trucks from Portland fire stations, where his father has worked for years.

Inside the church were his mother, Inger, and father, Grant, as well as his fiancé, Brittany Dygert. Filling the many seats on the ground level and the expansive balcony were fellow Marines, family friends, school mates, other members of the military and those in domestic service such as police and fire. Included also were veterans, members of veterans' clubs and local residents.

All came to celebrate the life of a well-loved person who was adept at handling dogs in the Middle East to save the lives of U.S. soldiers.

A military guard stood at attention alongside the casket before it was transported through Boring and Damascus on its way to an afternoon committal service with full military honors rendered by the U.S. Marine Corps at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

Along the route, police officers from a number of jurisdictions were stationed at every intersection to stop traffic while the long procession passed by.

The route passed near the Boring and Damascus fire stations, where firefighters stood at attention saluting the procession in honor of their fallen hero.

The route also passed the Damascus Christian School where Coffey was educated, graduating as president of the student body in 2007.

Both sides of Highway 212 in Damascus were lined shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of people paying their respects to Coffey and to the servicemen and women, police officers and firefighters accompanying the 22-year-old who died at nearly the end of his second deployment and only seven weeks away from his planned wedding to Brittany, also of Boring.

No greater tribute could be paid to Coffey's family as well as their fallen hero than for so many people to stand at attention and salute as the casket and mourners passed through the communities where Coffey learned to live honorably.

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