TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s now been 103 days since two Alabamians fighting in Ukraine were captured by Russian forces. Their families continue to wait to hear if they’re still alive after over a month of no communication from either of them.
The last time Alex Drueke’s family from Tuscaloosa heard his voice on the phone was Aug. 11. They said they are not giving up hope for his safe return home.
“I just don’t know how the war is going and how it’s impacting Alex and Andy right now,” Bunny Drueke, Alex’s mother said. “That’s a little nerve-wracking.”
Drueke and Andy Huynh from Hartselle met as volunteers to help with Ukrainian war efforts. Huynh’s family hasn’t heard from him since June 8, the day before they were captured.
“I personally think that maybe the phone lines are down and that’s why he can’t call because the fighting has increased in that area so it might be that they just can’t call,” Drueke said. “The power has gone out in that area, too, so I don’t know what the conditions are like.”
But Drueke stays busy – working on a third quilt of valor for her son, who picked out a patriotic pattern before he left. She even got a sunflower tattoo of the Ukrainian national flower symbolizing peace.
“It is a way to cheer me up and when I’m missing Alex a lot,” Drueke said.
Drueke and her sister Dianna Shaw get updates almost daily from the state department.
“They are not allowed to hands-on do a whole lot because America is not part of this war, but they have been able to keep tabs on the situation and connect us with other agencies and important people,” Shaw said.
As well wishes pour in, Alabamians do not forget these soldiers.
“Alex had said once I bet everyone’s forgotten about us,” Drueke said. “We wanted them when they come home to see people didn’t forget about you.”
Both families have teamed up to host several events to bring awareness to their status as being prisoners of war. Drueke said they are working to have vigils in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa soon as they wait to welcome both men home.