Former captive Alex Drueke speaks to WBRC FOX6 News following release
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Back home and free. That’s been the story for Alabamians Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh as they get reacquainted with their loved ones after being held captive by Russian forces since early June.
Drueke and Huynh left the United States and volunteered to help the Urkrainian military fight the Russians.
Alex Drueke says his homecoming feels ‘surreal,’ as he spends his newfound freedom with his mom, resting and healing. Drueke also added he has no regrets after all he and Andy Huyhn endured.
In his mother’s home on a quiet street in Tuscaloosa County the coffee never tasted so good for Alex Drueke and his mom, Bunny.
“It’s still very surreal, sometimes I feel like I am just here for my two-week R&R, sometimes I feel like I’ve been gone for years, and sometimes I feel like I never left home,” Drueke said.
But Alex Drueke did leave home, left the country to volunteer his training as a former military man, to help Ukrainian forces fight Russia. Drueke’s friend Andy Huyhn volunteered as well. On June 9 both men encountered a ‘violent’ capture, according to Drueke, but how they were captured by Russian forces is something Drueke couldn’t talk about right now.
“We’re waiting on that for the time being. We know our perspective on the situation and we need to get debriefed by our government agencies before we get into that,” said Drueke.
Bunny Drueke recalled the very moment she laid eyes on her son for the first time in months in New York, their first stop on American soil before coming home to Alabama.
“All of a sudden I felt a hand on my shoulder and I heard ‘Hey, momma.. and I turned around and ran into Alex’s arms.. I got the hug before I could see what he looked like,” Bunny Drueke said with a laugh.
There is laughter and relief these days in the Drueke home. But it wasn’t always so for the men in captivity. There were many dark days. Alex Drueke turned 40 years old during captivity.
“I couldn’t even tell you there were a lot of them.... We played the delicate balance you’re down in the dump, I gotta be up. Our favorite thing was we made a checkerboard out of trash. We used matchsticks.. played a lot of chess,” Drueke remembered.
Just a few days removed from captivity, Alex Drueke is 30 pounds lighter but overall in good shape. He learned something about himself through the ordeal.
“I’m pretty darn tough,” he said.
Far tougher than he realized.
Alex Drueke says Andy Huyhn is doing fine with his family up in North Alabama, and yes, they’ve had preliminary discussions about writing a book.
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