CHARLESTON, W.Va. — April 1, 2003: A nation cheers as it learns a young Wirt County, W.Va., woman serving her country in Iraq has been rescued. Since then, Jessica Lynch has shown us how determination, dedication and drive propelled her beyond what made her famous, and established a life where her dreams have come true. Today, she is a teacher, student and motivational speaker.

“Our state’s rich history of military service includes thousands of women and men who have served and sacrificed for our state and country,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “Jessica’s story shines a spotlight on what it means to be a West Virginian who bravely wore the uniform. I’m grateful she continues to serve her state, working to help others achieve their dreams through education.”

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will host a special anniversary reception for Lynch at the Culture Center in Charleston from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 1. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature brief remarks by Lynch and an opportunity for guests to speak with her personally. Lynch will take this opportunity to thank the people of West Virginia for their continued support and encouragement.

Lynch has generously loaned the Division a selection of photographs and other memorabilia, which will be on display at the Culture Center. Additionally, on Wednesday, April 10, she will speak to school students visiting the Culture Center at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Her hour-long presentations, geared toward middle and high school students, are free and will take place in the State Theater at the Culture Center. 

“We are honored to host this reception for Jessica and to showcase her story,” said Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. “The opportunity for school children to come and hear her story is exciting for us as well.”

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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