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Thursday, May 29

Lynch family thanks community upon return home

By The (Huntington, W.Va.) Herald-Dispatch

PALESTINE, W.Va. - The parents of rescued prisoner of war Jessica Lynch, returning home for daughter Brandi's high school graduation, thanked their community and the nation Thursday for the support the family has received over the past two months.

Lynch, 20, an Army private first class in the 507th Maintenance Company at Fort Bliss, Texas, was captured by Iraqi forces in Nasiriyah, Iraq, on March 23. Severely injured, she remained in captivity for 10 days before being rescued.

Greg and Deadre Lynch, the soldier's parents, invited media representatives to their home to express their gratitude, give an update on their daughter's recovery and show the progress on the addition to their home being constructed by community volunteers.

Lynch's sister, Brandi, 18, read the statement and explained why the home's expansion was necessary.

``The people of Wirt County want Jessi to recover at home,'' she said. ``But they knew we needed more space inside our home for Jessi's rehabilitation to happen in the best manner possible. So our community has chosen to make our home larger and more suitable to Jessi's needs.''

The younger Lynch said her sister is recovering, but her rehabilitation will not be quick or easy.

``We still don't know when she will be home,'' Brandi Lynch said.

Jessica Lynch's parents have been spending most of their time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where she is continuing occupational and physical therapy.

The Lynches declined to answer questions about an Army investigation of the ambush that led to the deaths of nine Americans and the capture of Jessica Lynch and five other POWs.

``We're not supposed to talk about it,'' Greg Lynch said. ``It's still an ongoing investigation.''

He did say that contrary to published reports, his daughter does not have amnesia.

``Her memory is as good as it was when she was home,'' he said. ``There really wasn't no amnesia problems.''

``We're not focusing on any of that,'' Deadre Lynch said. ``We're just focusing on her recovery.''

The Lynches said their daughter's therapy is keeping her busy but she is aware of the nation elevating her to a folk hero status.

``In our eyes, Jessi and her rescuers are heroes,'' Brandi Lynch said. ``Jessi sees things differently. She believes her rescuers are heroes. But she sees herself as nothing more than a soldier who was doing her duty. She is more concerned for the welfare of other soldiers, especially those in the 507th.''