The Alabama Republican Party is raising funds to help the families of two Alabama veterans captured in Ukraine with expenses they incurred while bringing the two men home earlier this fall. The goal of the campaign is to raise enough money to pay off the bills before Christmas.
Alex Drueke and Andy Huyn — veterans who went to help Ukrainians fight off Russian invaders — were captured in Kharkiv in June of this year. They were released from captivity in September after the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia helped negotiate their release.
While the harrowing story of the two Alabama natives has been reported around the world, their family’s financial burden from the entire ordeal has mostly gone under the radar. Not only were the two men held captive for months and not able to make a living, but family members are still working to pay off bills for the cost of their transportation home from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl has been in contact with the families, and when he learned of the expenses they were facing offered to help raise the funds to cover the costs. Alabama’s political committee rules do not allow the Republican Party to contribute directly, but Wahl is encouraging party members and the general public to help give these veterans a special Christmas gift this holiday season.
The ALGOP has started a GoFundMe account to aid the families, and Wahl has also arranged for anonymous ALGOP donors to personally match all funds raised towards the target amount.
“We are incredibly thankful for Alex and Andy’s sacrifice, both during their time in the U.S. military and what they went through on behalf of the people of Ukraine,” Wahl said. “When I learned their families were paying off their flights home, I felt it was important for us to step up and help. These families went through so much, and I wanted to show that we cared. The Alabama Republican Party has always been supportive of our veterans, and this is just one small way we can help give back.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise $5,000 for the families. All funds raised will go directly to Dianna Shaw – Alex Drueke’s aunt – who put all the expenses to bring both men home on her credit card. The ALGOP will not receive any of the funds raised.
Alex, who served in the Iraq War, is a resident of Tuscaloosa. Andy Huyn lives in Lawrence County. A student at Calhoun Community College, he served for four years in the Marines. For more information on their story, visit praythemhome.net.
“People across our state prayed for Andy and Alex’s safe return. We thank God that they made it home, and that they are able to spend this Christmas with their families. We hope this campaign will do a little to show our appreciation, and let them know that the people of Alabama are glad they are home this holiday season,” Wahl said.