GUILFORD, CT – 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. Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and Representative Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison) introduced and led passage of legislation that renames the section of road. This renaming was requested and supported by Captain Pedersen-Keel’s parents, and Madison residents, Helen Keiser-Pedersen and Robert Keiser. Kennedy and Kokoruda today joined Helen and Robert at the APK Charities 5K race, an annual event that raises money in memory of Captain Pedersen-Keel. Together they unveiled before an applauding crowd a replica of the sign marking the “Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel Memorial Highway” in Madison.
“We wanted to come up with a fitting tribute to honor the sacrifice that Captain Pedersen-Keel made, and that was to name a state highway in his memory. Renaming this road is a small token of our immense gratitude to Andrew and his family for their service to this country. All of us on the Connecticut Shoreline are incredibly grateful for the sacrifice that he made, and now his memory will be permanently placed in our town so that future generations can be aware of all that Andrew and his family have sacrificed for us,” said Senator Kennedy.
“Getting this highway renamed has been an amazing, collaborative effort, but years from now, the students in Madison are going to drive by and see that highway sign and they’re going to want to know who this guy was. They’re going to find out who Andrew Pedersen-Keel was and hear his story, and that is going to be an important legacy for Madison,” said State Representative Noreen Kokoruda.
Captain Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel grew up in Wallingford and Collinsville, CT, and moved with his parents to Madison in 2003. Andrew earned a Bachelor of Science degree in American Legal Studies from the United States Military Academy at West Point in May 2006. In 2008, Andrew was deployed as a Platoon leader in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, where he led his platoon in over 150 combat foot patrols and three air assault operations. Following this deployment, Andrew continued his service at Fort Hood, TX and Fort Knox, KY.
Captain 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, Captain Pedersen-Keel was mortally wounded.
Captain 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, Andrew 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.” Captain 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.