Doug Bean of Danvers hugs Andy Jimenez, whose son, Alex, has been missing in Iraq since early May. Bean, who is the uncle of Matthew Bean, a soldier who died while looking for Alex, visited Andy yesterday. Raul Polanco, a friend of Andy's, stands in the background.

LAWRENCE — One is the father of a soldier missing in Iraq since May. The other is the uncle of a young man who died searching for him.

Both men are from Massachusetts, and neither had met the other until yesterday.

Still, the men shared an embrace and tears over the plights of Army Spec. Alex Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence and Army Pfc. Matthew Bean, 22, of Pembroke.

The meeting between Alex’s father, Andy Jimenez, and Bean’s uncle, Doug Bean of Danvers, came more than three months after

a deadly ambush south of


Alex Jimenez has been missing since the May 12 ambush. Bean was shot in the head by a sniper on May 19 while searching house to house for Jimenez and Pvt. Byron Fouty, who was also kidnapped.

“His family is always on our mind, and we pray for them,” Bean said. “We know we have a loss and can grieve. It’s more difficult not knowing where your son is.”

Matthew Bean died from

head wounds on May 31 at the

National Naval Medical Center

in Bethesda, Md.

Like Jimenez and Fouty, Bean was a member of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division out of Fort

Drum, N.Y.

Yesterday’s visit lasted less than an hour.

Doug Bean, who is an emergency medical technician in Danvers, was in the area to sign up for a paramedic class at Northern Essex Community College. Since he was so close, he decided to try to look up Andy Jimenez, who he had been reading about in the newspapers.

Bean, who has a tattoo portrait of his nephew on his right leg, said it was important for him to meet Andy Jimenez.

“I remember how important it was for my brother to get support from the community,” Bean said of Matthew’s father. “You’re hurting, and it’s nice to know how much people care.”

Jimenez talked about Alex’s lifelong dream of joining the military and the strength he received after a recent visit from Gordy Dibler of Michigan, Fouty’s stepfather.

It was luck that Bean found Jimenez at his Albion Street home yesterday. Jimenez works construction and usually works out of town and is not home until after 5 p.m.

“I’m glad he came. We have to support each other. Members of the military are like brothers, and we are like a family,” Jimenez said.

“His nephew lost his life looking for Alex, and I’m sure if it had been the other way around, Alex would have done the same for him,” Jimenez said.

Although Jimenez has not heard any new developments on Alex’s whereabouts, he remains hopeful.

“I know he’s still alive because they have not shown his remains,” Jimenez said.

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