WASHINGTON (AP) _ Honoring the best of American volunteers, President Clinton said today the unselfish acts of ordinary citizens responding to the Oklahoma City bombing proves that ``altruism will always triumph over the forces of divisiveness.''

He made the remarks while issuing ``President's Service Awards'' to 18 people and groups doing exemplary public service. Though winners were chosen before the federal office building bombing, Clinton took the opportunity to honor volunteers and rescue workers in Oklahoma City.

``Americans were united in a spirit of service,'' he said.

Clinton singled out Brent Bloom, a 23-year-old AmeriCorp member from Oklahoma City who rushed to the scene and rescued victims, and Rebecca Anderson, a nurse who died in rescue efforts.

``Just over a week ago, we were reminded that there are those who want to see our nation tore apart, that amid the grief and the destruction we have also seen how quickly the overwhelming majority of Americans come together to help each other to rebuild, to remake this country stronger,'' Clinton said in a Rose Garden ceremony.

In Oklahoma City, ``We saw a community working around the clock to rebuild, and compassion and assistance flowed in from all over the United States,'' Clinton said.

The President's Service Award was established in 1982 to honor outstanding people, families, groups, organizations and businesses that engage in volunteer work. More than 250 awards have been issued in 14 years.

This year's awards honor service ranging from helping abused spouses to increasing voter registration and planting trees in parks.

The individual winners were Caridad Asensio, Boca Raton, Fla; Ron Bell, Boston; Ray Castellani, Tarzana, Calif.; Sara Garfield, Stockton, Calif.; Richard Goldsmith, Atlanta; James W. Johnson, Custer City, Pa.; Sophia Lopez, Phoenix; James Matz, Harlingen, Texas; Gilbert Petitt, Seattle; Angalena Rhue, Summerville, S.C.; and Gary Weart, Charlotte, N.C.

The winning organizations: Apartment Movers of Lincoln, Lincoln Neb.; ChildTeach, Holland, Mich.; District Council of Carpenters, Renton, Wash.; 100 Black Men of America Inc, Atlanta; SAFEHAVEN, Portland, Ore.; Team Depot, Atlanta; the U.S. Army Forces Command Tutoring and Mentoring Project, Fort McPherson, Ga.