BOISE -- Family of an Idaho prisoner of war marked the third anniversary of his capture by the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying they hope he's released this year and can return home.
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey was captured June 30, 2009, and is believed held in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
For the first time, we spoke briefly Friday to Bowe's father Bob Bergdahl.
For the past three years, we've traveled to Hailey to tell you stories about Bowe Bergdahl, and the impact his capture has had on that community. If the ribbons are any indication of how people are doing, tired, worn out, but always remembering might be a good way to describe the situation.
In a small town like Hailey, everyone knows just about everyone. Between Bob Bergdahl's job as a UPS delivery truck driver and his son being the only known U.S. prisoner of war, people know who he is.
"He's been our UPS driver for years," said Chris Roebuck who owns Christopher and Company Fine Jewelry and gifts.
Roebuck has known the Bergdahls for years.
"We used to ride motorcycles together,” said Roebuck. “He showed me around some of the mountains, in fact, we'd go out and ride with Bowe when he was young, high school age, 16, 17."
Now, he's one of many business owners using signs to show support during this tough time.
"We've had it long enough that it's faded. He needs to come home," said Roebuck. "You know we don't forget about Bowe, we haven't forgotten about him. We want him to come home, bottom line."
Down the street, there's a sign at Windemere Real Estate that reads, “Standing with Bowe.”
"He is a member of our community and we have it out there for support for him and his family and we want everyone that comes through Hailey to realize there's a POW out there, and he's from here," said Monica Hebert, a realtor for Windemere.
Monica Hebert has never forgotten about Bowe.
"It's amazing to me that it's been three years, but I see his dad probably three times a week, and you don't forget when you see a family member," said Hebert. "I can tell you my five-year-old will see Bob Bergdahl in the grocery store and run over and say hello to him, so he knows that something important is happening, and something scary and sad."
We even ran into Bob Bergdahl on the streets of Hailey Friday afternoon. We spoke briefly, but it was enough for him to say that the signs, the ribbons, no matter how faded or battered, mean something to him.
He told us to tell everyone in Boise hello, and thank them for their support.
Hebert shared a person story showing just how much each ribbon and sign really means to Bob.
"Bob came in on his day off one day and said, 'I just want to thank you for the sign that you have, because I take a left hand turn everyday and that gives me strength to see it.' It touched everyone that heard him say it, and it's an amazing thing that a small sign can mean so much to a person," said Hebert.
The Bergdahl family released a statement Friday, thanking organizations for efforts to keep their son's name in the public's eye:
“June 30th marks the end of three years captivity for our son, U.S. Army Soldier Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban in Eastern Afghanistan. We remain hopeful for the release of our son and we will continue to work to make that happen.
We would like to thank the organizers and participants in a number of events around our nation who have rallied to bring awareness to our cause of bringing Bowe home. The yellow ribbons we see all around our own community remind us that our son has not been forgotten here at home or around the world.
We’d also like to ask each of you as individuals and as a nation for your continued awareness as Bowe begins his fourth year as a prisoner. We want this to be the year we see our only son safely returned home.”
The statement came through the U.S. Department of Defense, where officials reiterated their ongoing efforts to secure Bergdahl's release.
The Pentagon says securing the 26-year-old's freedom remains "a constant focus for commanders in Afghanistan."
“Every day … there is time, attention and sometimes substantial resources applied to trying to locate, identify where he is and to continue to look at options for how to get him home,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby.
Recent media reports suggested Bergdahl was disenchanted with the military's mission in central Asia and may have walked off his base before he was taken prisoner.