MACON, Miss. – Relatives of an American civilian taken hostage in Iraq waited to learn what had happened to him after a Sunday morning deadline imposed by his abductors passed.
"I don't really know anything, we don't know anything. ... Prayers are all we need right now," she told The Dispatch of Columbus, Miss., in a telephone interview Saturday. "I'm doing about as good as can be expected under the circumstances."
"I got God, and I just trust in God," said Hamill's grandmother, Vera Hamill.
Hamill, 43, was snatched Friday by gunmen who attacked a fuel convoy he was guarding, the latest in a string of kidnappings in Iraq.
His captors threatened to kill him unless U.S. troops ended their assault on the city of Fallujah. The deadline passed Sunday morning with no word on Hamill's fate.
In a videotape of Hamill, broadcast Saturday on the Arab TV station Al-Jazeera (search), his expression was calm but wary. A voice-over read by an Al-Jazeera announcer quoted Hamill as saying he was being treated well.
"I am in good shape," the voice-over quoted him as saying. "I hope to return home one day, and I want my family to know that these people are taking care of me, and provide me with food, water and a place to sleep."
Hamill went to Iraq last September as a truck driver for Kellogg, Brown and Root, his wife said. The news of his capture hit hard in the small community.
"It's pretty much a shock when it's this close to home," said family friend Jim Robbins, a firefighter in Columbus.
Macon Mayor Dorothy Baker Hines planned to have flags and ribbons put up around town.
"We've said we're going to do everything we can to support his family," said the mayor, who knows Kellie Hamill from her work as an 911 dispatcher, a job from which she is on leave while recovering from heart surgery. The Hamills have a son and daughter.
"We just hope and pray that he's going to be released and get to come home."
Hamill sold his dairy farm last summer after fighting a losing battle to survive in the industry. But the sale still left the family in debt, Kellie Hamill told The Beacon newspaper in Macon in a story published Thursday. "With this job, he saw a way to help get us back on track," she said.
Tommy Hamill had signed on for a one-year hitch in Iraq with Halliburton but was considering extending it on a month-to month basis after that, his wife said.
"He's seen how bad it can be," Kellie Hamill told The Beacon. "An artillery round has landed within feet of him and he's constantly getting bricks thrown through his truck windows."