WASHINGTON - Secretary of Army John M. McHugh personally awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service to Judith L. Gentner, Fort Drum deputy to the garrison commander, during a Pentagon ceremony Wednesday.

The Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service is the highest award granted by the secretary of the Army to Army civilian personnel. It is comparable to the military Distinguished Service Medal.

Gentner was singled out for this top honor based on her relentless efforts to improve quality of life for Fort Drum Soldiers and Families through great initiative, outstanding personal management skills and strong leadership abilities.

The Army's Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service recognizes the significant contributions of individuals through exceptional achievements in their assigned duties. Awardees must demonstrate outstanding leadership resulting in high mission success.

The decoration citation specifically recognizes as a direct result of Gentner's leadership a total saving of $5.6 million for the garrison through projects aimed at cost savings and efficiencies.

"Mrs. Gentner's exceptional accomplishments have distinguished her as a paramount public servant leadership who has improved the quality of life for the entire Fort Drum and North Country communities," the citation reads.