ADA — Clay Plunk, 18, Ada, has been honored for his exemplary volunteer service with a state - level Certificate of Excellence from the 2007 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Plunk was nominated for this award by Byng High School where he is a graduating senior.

Plunk also has received a President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, which recognizes Americans who have volunteered significant amounts of their communities and their country.

Plunk earned his awards by creating and organizing a fund raiser to help a fellow teammate and a personal friend with medical expenses incurred from his battle with cancer.

“Since he loved baseball and loved playing the guitar, I created the Fish Prayer Pick,” Plunk said. “I bought guitar picks from the local music store and using a standard office hole punch, I punched holes in the picks . I purchased ladies trouser socks and cut them into thin strips and strung picks on the bands to be worn as necklaces or bracelets. As I sold these I asked people to pray for my friend “Fish.” Everywhere I went, I saw a “Fish Prayer Pick” around someone’s neck or wrist and I knew that someone was praying for him and supporting his cause. The picks were sold in 15 Oklahoma schools and five states and have generated over $14,000.”

“My goal is to continue in my effort to help other teens in need,” Plunk said.

Through this experience Plunk said he learned valuable lessons about people.

“Always be willing to make a difference in the life of others; it will make a difference in your life too,’’ Plunk said.

“Byng School is very proud of the service Plunk gave to this project. He is a leader in the high school and an excellent role model for our youth. Our school really pulled together through this project and rallied around one of our students in need. We all felt a part of his medical struggle and by wearing a “Fish Prayer Pick” we supported, encouraged, and prayed for him daily. This was a wonderful idea and Plunk deserves to be recognized for it,” said Retha Asklund, Byng High School Counselor.

“The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said Art Ryan, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “They truly deserve all of the praise and encouragement we can give them.”

“The young people recognized by the Spirit of Community Awards demonstrate an enormous capacity for giving and reaching out to those in need,” said Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

“NASSP is proud to honor them as they are wonderful examples of the high caliber of young people in our nation’s schools today.”

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