Alex Drueke, Andy Huynh arrive to Birmingham after three months in Russian captivity

Alabama natives back home after Russian capture
Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 11:02 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2022 at 11:05 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Two Alabama heroes are finally home safe with their loved ones after spending months in captivity.

Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh were held prisoner by Russian-backed forces for 104 days. They were taken captive in June and returned home to Alabama on Saturday, September 24.

“They’re coming home! I’m going to get my boy back and I’m going to see my girl smiling,” said Darla Black. “She hasn’t done enough smiling for the past three months.”

Black is Andy Huynh’s future mother-in-law. Her daughter Joy Black is engaged to Huynh.

Loved ones shared smiles, hugs, and even laughs once they were finally reunited at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

“We’re excited to get them home, catch our breath, and process everything we’ve been through,” said Dianna Shaw, Alex Drueke’s aunt.

On September 21, seemingly out of nowhere, Drueke and Huynh’s families received a call from the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia saying the men had been released through a prisoner of war exchange.

“Most of us are in a little bit of shock because it came so suddenly and so unexpectedly,” said Black. “We got our miracle that we were praying for.”

“We had hope that this was going to happen but I personally did not expect it to happen for a couple of years, so this caught us completely off guard and apparently the rest of the world,” said Shaw.

When asked if he was happy to be home while leaving the airport, Alex Drueke said: “Very happy. Thank you.”

Andy Huynh was asked a similar question about how he was feeling. His response: “Pretty good.”

While the men are finally back home, their families say the fight isn’t over yet.

“He loves Ukraine,” said Shaw about Drueke. “He believes in their fight. He wants America to do all we can to support that democracy and keep it standing.”

She is asking for prayers for all of those still in Ukraine fighting for their own freedom.


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