Military Appreciation Banquet Honors soldiers and civilians for service.

More than 500 people turned out late Friday evening at the annual Military Appreciation Banquet held at the Carlson


Organizers say attendance was the highest ever for the 45th annual event banquet that started out as a home cooked meal, and now is sponsored

by the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and Boeing.

Both service members and civilians were honored for their work.

"It's such a great honor to be here," said Master Sergeant Carrie Stokes, with the Alaska Air National Guard, and an event honoree.  "I'm here for the hometown

Air Force, for the community, and they're giving us thanks, and were turning around trying to give them thanks as well.  This is an

honor.  This is a huge event."

Awards went to soldiers and airmen who went under fire to defend others.

"It's very nice for them to put this on for us and we appreciate it alot," said Staff Sergeant Michael Skellie of Fort Wainwright, and an event honoree.