The Salute to the Military at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center Tuesday honored those who protect America's freedom. The 37th annual event was a chance for the Coastal community to show its support for the military. Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce organizes the event that's all about welcoming service members based in South Mississippi.
"If you're on the Coast and you're in the military we respect you, we appreciate what you do and we want to show that appreciation," said Bob Coniglione, Co-Chairman of Salute to the Military.
The featured speaker was Maj. Gen. Mark Brown, Commander, 2nd Air Force at Keesler. He recognized the efforts made by the community to show its support for the U.S. military.
"We are so fortunate to live in a place where we are welcome and also has all the natural beauty you have in Mississippi," said Maj. Gen. Brown. "It means a lot that the community would take the time out of their busy schedules to say thank you to service members."
Ten enlisted service members were nominated for the Thomas V. Fredian Community Leadership Award. Air Force Master Sergeant Tammy Pierce was honored during the banquet as the award winner for her involvement in the community.
"We very much want our military members to be active in the communities that they live in. So the awards given out tonight is a service above self," said Maj. Gen. Brown. "It's not just a job they do from 9-5, but it's their engagement outside the gate which becomes so important in forming the kind of relationships that are being saluted tonight."
As part of the banquet 102 service members from Mississippi were remembered who have been killed in the fight against terrorism since 2001.