People in the U.S. held their breath when Alabama native Alex Drueke was captured by the Russians in Ukraine.
According to Tuscaloosa News, Drueke was one of two American citizens captured while serving as volunteers in the Ukraine war.
After being captured, Drueke was taken as a prisoner of war and interrogated and tortured. For three months, he endured brutal beatings, cruel psychological abuse, malnutrition, electrocution and more.
After three long months, Drueke was one of a lucky group of prisoners to be exchanged in a prisoner swap. He safely arrived back in New York back in September 2022.
He's only been back on U.S. soil for less than a year but he's already returned to continue work in the Ukraine. According to WBRC, he said: "It's the same reason I went the first time. The war isn't over."
Since returning to the Ukraine, ABC News had the chance to interview Drueke for an exclusive news segment.
Though Drueke isn't fighting in the war this time, he is helping with humanitarian work. Specifically, he's working with the charity group Ukrainian Patriot.
In the exclusive interview, he said: "I realized that I legitimately have a second chance at life. There were countless time that I was less than a second away from death while I was over there. And so, you know, I'm trying to do positive things with it."
Ukraine and Russia have been battling tirelessly since February 2022 when Russia invaded. While Russia likely thought it could take Ukraine in a matter of days, Ukraine proved to be a fighter, strengthened by a leader who boosted morale.
People from around the world stepped up to help Ukraine, U.S. troops helped train Ukrainian fighters, individuals booked Airbnb's they wouldn't stay in to support the Ukrainian economy, and veterans joined the war to help people and pets alike.
Drueke was one of the U.S. veterans who went over to help the efforts. Despite all he's been through, he's back again.
You can watch the exclusive with him below:
You can provide emergency relief to people and animals fleeing from attack in Ukraine. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine.