WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) - First Baptist Church in Wiggins has a capacity of 300 people. For Steve Cobb's memorial service on Saturday, there were 500 in the sanctuary.
This followed the more than 1,000 who attended the four-hour visitation on Friday.
People came from all over the state and country to find comfort and encouragement from one another and to try to understand how the long-time U.S. Forest Service employee died too soon.
The funeral service for pilot Brandon Ricks was also held Saturday in his hometown of Blanchard, Okla.
The lone survivor, Brendan Mullen, continues to recover at the University of South Alabama Medical Center's burn unit in Mobile.
The investigation into the crash by multiple agencies will likely last months if not a year or more.
Many attending the service were members of the U.S. Forest Service. The service was broadcast outside the church so that the message of his legacy could be heard loud and clear to everyone.
“He was like a brother to me,” said Tadd Parsons, deacon. “And he was like that to a lot of people. And he really made me stronger as a man and he continues to.”
Sonny Woodard, is also a deacon at the church.
“Steve let God use him in every part of his life,” he said. “Today is proof. Look at how many people came to church today. And that's what Steve would have wanted. Steve had a belief and a peace and a love like no other.”
The church's new pastor, Robby Rikard, said Cobb was prepared for judgment.
“When Steve stood before the Lord on Monday afternoon, he was dressed for action like a man,” he said. “He was wrapped and covered with the perfection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. And because of this he was met by the father with a glorious welcome celebration. This is the message that Steve preached with his life.”
Co-worker Andy Hunter shared several meaningful projects over the last two decades.
“We've all worked on a helicopter. It's routine. Any one of us could have been in that situation,” he said. “It's been a very difficult week. Off and on, I've had my moments and I know I'll continue to have my moments for a long time because it's like we lost a member of our family. And it's very hurtful. Very hurtful.”