TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The United States offered a deal to Russia to bring home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American prisoner, Paul Whelan. Now, a family in Tuscaloosa is hopeful that something similar could happen for their son who was captured in Ukraine.
Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh are two U.S. veterans from Alabama who went to help soldiers in Ukraine and got captured there last month.
Ten days ago, Drueke’s possessions came home and for the first time in 20 days, he was able to call his mother, Lois ‘Bunny’ Drueke.
“I figured we weren’t going to get any more calls, but he called this morning,” Drueke said, unable to contain her excitement.
Drueke said her son is now in a traditional prison with Huynh.
“I know that sounds awful, but he says it’s better conditions and he and Andy are out of solitary, and they are there together with a third man,” Drueke said. “He says it was so much better than the conditions before.”
Drueke said she did not press for more information on who the third person is with them, but rather counts her blessings with every phone call.
“When I’ve gotten kind of nosy before, the calls have mysteriously dropped,” Drueke said.
Drueke told her son about the U.S. negotiations offer with the Kremlin for Griner and Whelan – and she said he told her that’s encouraging.
“I have to remind myself that this is a different situation,” Drueke said. “It still makes me feel hopeful that if they can work something out for Brittney and Paul, that they’ll be able to work something out for Alex and Andy, too.”
August 13 marks two months since Drueke got the call that her son went missing. The family will partner with the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter to help adopt big dogs like Diesel, Alex’s dog, to make sure they can have homes in his honor.