Army Spc. Jared C. Plunk
Died June 25, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
27, of Stillwater, Okla.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 25 in Konar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. Also killed in the attack was Army Spc. Blair D. Thompson.
(The following was taken from www.swdtimes.com of July 7, 2010) The Turpin High School auditorium stage was set to honor an American hero on Independence Day.
Family, friends, military personnel, children and many others packed the auditorium to pay their respects to Army Spc. Jared C. Plunk who gave his life to serve this country.
Plunk, a former Turpin, Okla., resident and a 2001 THS graduate was killed in battle last month when his mounted patrol came under fire.
Plunk’s casket sat below the stage draped in an American flag. The THS auditorium flag stood to the left and Plunk’s No. 71 THS football jersey hung to the right. Plunk’s family and close friends sat at the front.
Rev. Stan Lehnart and the Rev. Ronnie Hepperley presided over the service. Both called upon the crowd to remember the sacrifices made by Plunk and those who serve the country today in a time of war.
"Today as we celebrate Independence Day, we are reminded the price we pay for our freedom,” said Lehnart. “Thank you Jared."
Lehnart is an elementary school teacher at Turpin. He never taught Plunk in the classroom but instead knew Plunk from his high school football days. Lehnart spoke of Plunk as a jokester, someone always with a smile on his face and with a twinkle in his eyes.
“As I think of Jared, some thoughts come to me,” said Lehnart. “He was not the valedictorian of Turpin. He was not the star of the football team. He was not the boy the girls’ wanted to sit next to at assemblies in this auditorium. He is the one that gave his life for us to sit here today. He is the one that served his country. He is a hero."
A slide show was shown over Plunk’s 27-year life. Family photos, youth football photos, birthday photos with a Snoppy inspired cake, shots from Plunk’s wedding to Lindsay Fisher Plunk and recent photos of the family of four were shared as music by Breaking Benjamin, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw played. Members of the community unable to be seated in the auditorium took turns looking in to see Jared’s smiling face. Tissues were passed among those in the crowd and eyes were wiped.
Plunk’s younger brother, Justin Plunk, will also remember his brother as a hero. Through tears and pausing to collect his composure, he told the crowd how he and his brother shared bunk beds in a house south of Baker, Okla. They would share bunks again at infantry basic training in Georgia in the fall of 2006. That was the last time, he said.
"Jared, I miss you,” said Justin Plunk. “The family misses you. Despite your absence, you bring the family warmth. I am proud of you, and it was an honor to serve with you."
Hepperley called for no one to forget the legacy Plunk leaves behind.
“Death can't stop the love,” said Hepperly. “It can't stop the legacy of Jared. When you look at the blond-haired little boy, nine-months old, you will see Jared's legacy.”
Hepperley ended the service in prayer. Bagpipe music filled the auditorium, and the bagpiper led Plunk’s casket rolled out of the auditorium. Family members followed, some adorned in yellow ribbons and camouflage ribbons over their hearts.
The funeral procession traveled north on U.S. Highway 83 through Turpin. Community members waved American flags, some held their hand over their hearts and some with tears in their eyes as the vehicles passed.