CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- John Romage collects change from more than 1,000 drivers daily on the West Virginia Turnpike, but one day last year he recognized a hero behind the wheel.
Jessica Lynch smiled back at Romage as she handed him her toll fee.
She even signed her autograph on the back of a receipt and shook the Mount Hope resident's hand, Romage said.
The Wirt County native was rescued 10 years ago Monday after being taken as a prisoner of war in Iraq in 2003.
Lynch, a private first class in the U.S. Army, and other soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company were part of a convoy that took a wrong turn, wrecked and were ambushed near the hotly contested Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003.
Eleven soldiers were killed in the attack. U.S. forces rescued Lynch at a Nasiriyah hospital on April 1. Five other soldiers, held separately from Lynch, were released on April 13, 2003.
Lynch, 29, spoke at a 10-year anniversary reception at the Culture Center in Charleston on Monday.
"It was 10 years ago today that I was rescued from an Iraqi hospital ... and today marks just another milestone," Lynch said to the crowd.
More than 50 people attended the free event.
Lynch loaned the West Virginia Division of Culture and History a selection of her photographs and other memorabilia to put on display at the Culture Center. The items include newspaper clippings, get-well cards, an American flag afghan with a yellow border and a doll dressed in a desert camouflage uniform. The items will be on display until April 10 and then again at other times throughout the year.
Romage said he showed up to honor the woman who was "so sweet" during their brief interaction in the toll plaza line in Pax. He even brought a copy of her book, "I Am a Solider, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story," for her to sign.
"A lot of people come back with problems and don't do anything, but she's actually trying to do something with her life," Romage said. "She carries herself so well."