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Thursday, April 24

Lynch could be home June 1; 20th birthday is Saturday

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Saturday is Jessica Lynch's 20th birthday and a grocery store in Parkersburg, W.Va., is throwing the party even though she won't be able to attend.

The former POW is still recovering from her injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., but could be home June 1, relatives said.

Ramona Lynch, her cousin, said she has been told that the hospital has set the tentative release date.

"But she has told the family that she plans to be walking within three weeks, and if she is, she's coming home," she added.

Walter Reed will have no official observance of Lynch's birthday.

"The family is going to do something in her room," said Sgt. Maj. "Kiki" Bryant, the family's spokeswoman at the medical center. "They will have a cake and some food, but the hospital is not making any plans."

Kathy Kebrdle, community relations coordinator for Big Bear Stores in Columbus, Ohio, said Saturday's party is "our way of sending our warmest wishes to Jessica and the entire Lynch family."

Publicist Laura Finlayson said the store will have a giant birthday cake on hand for everyone to share and a giant card for everyone to sign - after they sing "Happy Birthday."

"The card will be delivered to her later," Finlayson said.

But it's likely to be business as usual closer to Lynch's home in Palestine, W.Va., where her brother, sister, family and friends are adding her new bedroom on the family homestead on Mayberry Run Road.

"The framing went up today," Wirt County Assessor Debbie Hennen said Wednesday afternoon.

Ramona Lynch, whose husband, Casey, is Jessica Lynch's third cousin, says the new room is necessary.