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State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-12) and State Representative Noreen Kokoruda (R-101) welcomed Bob Keiser and Helen Keiser-Pedersen to the State Capitol earlier this year to support the passage of legislation renaming a section of Route 79 in Madison after their son, Army Captain Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel, who gave his life in the service of his country. (Photo courtesy of Dan Doyle )
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A portion of Route 79 in Madison will soon be renamed in recognition of the life and service of Army Captain Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel. State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-12) and State Representative Noreen Kokoruda (R-101) introduced and led passage of legislation that renames the section of road. This renaming was requested and supported by Pedersen-Keel’s parents, and Madison residents Helen Keiser-Pedersen and Robert Keiser.
“We can never forget the sacrifices that heroes like Captain Pedersen-Keel have made to preserve our way of life,” said Kennedy. “Renaming this road is a small token of our immense gratitude to Andrew and his family for their service to this country. I thank Andrew’s parents for their tireless advocacy in support of their son’s memory, and look forward to joining them soon when we formally dedicate the Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel Memorial Highway in Madison.
“Captain Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I hope that each of us takes a moment to remember Captain Pedersen-Keel when driving by this road dedicated in his honor. When I had the opportunity to testify in front of the legislature’s Transportation Committee with Andrew’s parents, it was obvious that everyone was moved by his inspiring story. Without the service and sacrifice of men and women like Andrew, the freedoms that we enjoy would not be possible. It is only fitting that we honor his memory so that his legacy continues,” said Kokoruda. “Andrew’s parents have become an integral part of our community and have accomplished great things for veterans. This dedication is a small token we can use to remember Andrew’s great sacrifice and memorialize his life.”
Pedersen-Keel grew up in Wallingford and Collinsville, and moved with his parents to Madison in 2003. He earned a B.S. in American legal studies from the United States Military Academy at West Point in May 2006. In 2008, Pedersen-Keel was deployed as a platoon leader in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, where he led his platoon in more than 150 combat foot patrols and three air assault operations. Following this deployment, Andrew continued his service at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Pedersen-Keel studied the Pashto language and earned his green beret on June 28, 2012. Following this, he was redeployed in Afghanistan as a commander in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group. On the morning of March 11, 2013, Pedersen-Keel was mortally wounded.
Pedersen-Keel’s awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, two Bronze Stars, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Parachutist Badge. Posthumously, Pedersen-Keel received a third Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Route 79 in Madison, from Route 1 to the intersection with Green Hill Road, will be designated the Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel Memorial Highway. Pedersen-Keel’s parents founded APK Charities in memory of their son. For information on the charity, including how to donate, visit www.apkcharities.org.
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