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President Bush delivers remarks to Cabinet and Sub-Cabinet Members in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 16, 2002.  White House photo by Paul Morse.
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The Vice President Praises the Winners of the Presidential Rank Awards

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The Vice President Praises the Winners of the Presidential Rank Awards

Every year the President recognizes the achievement of career Senior Executives through the Presidential Rank Awards, the highest honor the federal government can bestow upon a career civilian employee. This year 55 career Senior Executives received the rank of Distinguished Executive, and 293 received the rank of Meritorious Executive. These individuals were nominated by senior management officials at their respective departments or agencies, and were evaluated by boards of private citizens. Their names were then presented to the President for his approval.

This year's Presidential Rank Award winners are all outstanding men and women, whose overriding commitment is to serve the American people efficiently and effectively.

They have developed programs to better recruit and reward top performers. They have applied new technologies to solve old problems. They have evaluated the cost effectiveness of programs, have increased productivity, and have made taxpayer dollars go further.

By never just focusing on meeting existing standards, and by always striving to exceed expectations, they have accomplished the seemingly impossible time and time again. They have helped to make the Federal government an institution of which all Americans can be proud.

If you have not done so already, I would urge you to take a few minutes to read about this year's winners. Their exemplary careers can inspire the rest of us to try harder and to work smarter. I congratulate them all for devoting their energy and their talents in helping make our nation safer, stronger, and better.

Before concluding, I would like to speak about one very special individual, Doc Cooke. Doc passed away in June and is receiving his Presidential Rank Award posthumously. Not only was he a valued public servant, he was also a dear friend of mine. He began his lifetime of service as young man when he joined the Navy to fight in World War II. Upon returning home, and obtaining a law degree, Doc began his tour of duty at the Pentagon. He stayed for over 40 years, served under 11 Secretaries of Defense, and was most fondly referred to as 'Mayor of the Pentagon'.

Doc was the department's highest ranking career civil servant. During his tenure he received the DOD's Medal for Distinguished Civilian service seven times and the Medal for Distinguished Public Service twice.

Doc Cooke embodied the ideal of public service. He was devoted to the Department of Defense, and he constantly sought new ways to assist all who worked there; helping them carry out their missions more effectively. His foresight in renovating the Pentagon with security and safety in mind saved numerous lives on 9/11. I feel honored to have served with him. We will miss him greatly.

Thank you for listening. Now let's get back to work for the President, for the American people, and for this great country that we so dearly love.


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