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Memphis teen to receive community service award

Memphis teen to receive youth community service award

Ethan Lunkenheimer of Memphis has been named a recipient of the 2007 Youth Community Service Award by the Mental Health Association of Onondaga County. MHA's Community Service awards, established in 1989, honor individuals and organizations that have been exceptional advocates and supporters of mental health in Central New York. The youth award is presented annually to local teens that spend significant time serving as volunteers to improve the well-being of Onondaga County residents.

The awards will be presented at the agency's 2007 Community Service Awards Holiday Luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 6, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Renaissance Syracuse Hotel.

Lunkenheimer, 17, a Cato-Meridian High School student, is being honored for many hours of volunteer work with Central New York nonprofit organizations and his commitment to helping achieve their goals. He donates his time assisting not only with direct service, but also fundraising and advocacy. He volunteers with the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) by helping to educate and support the children who participate in the association. He assists with the agency's fundraisers and serves as a junior camp counselor at Tic-Apalooza Tourette Syndrome Camp. He advocated for mental health insurance parity by attending the National Tourette Syndrome Leadership Conference in Washington, DC and meeting with legislative representatives, such as Senator Hillary Clinton's Legislative Aid Ann Gavaghan. Lunkenheimer has also advocated for TSA funding with Congressman Jim Walsh.

Other nonprofits benefit from Lunkenheimer's time and talents. He donates his design skills to the Carol M. Baldwin Hoops for the Cure Basketball Tournament, helped with the event's food sales and setup, and volunteered for the 2007 Down Syndrome Association of CNY Buddy Walk. He is a member of CNY Junior Achievement, and worked with its Helping Hands project, shipping 100 care packages to US troops.

Lunkenheimer also assists incoming freshman as a member of the LINK crew at Cato-Meridian High School and participates in the School Improvement Team.

The MHA Community Service Awards Holiday Luncheon, which will include the awards presentation, a raffle, and holiday music on piano, is open to the community. Tickets are $25 each or $160 for a table of eight. Advance registration is required. To order tickets, or for more details, call (315) 445-5606, ext. 205.

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