This Veteran’s Day, the Avon Old Farms School community honored a fallen brother by organizing an all-school 5K in cooperation with APK Charities Corporation—a non-profit founded to honor and remember the ultimate sacrifice made by Avonian Captain Andrew M. Pedersen-Keel, US Army Special Forces.
Decorated soldier Pedersen-Keel ’02 was a proud member of the Avon Old Farms community. Throughout high school, he embraced all that AOF had to offer. He was a Dean’s List student, tri-sport varsity athlete, dormitory monitor, and editor of the school newspaper. Remembered for his enthusiasm, energy, loyalty and high moral standards he earned the trust, respect, and admiration of those around him. He graduated in 2002, and then from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2006.
During a Veterans Day special program, Head Football Coach Emeritus Kevin Driscoll ’72, who mentored PK through his years as an Avon student, spoke about PK’s life as a young boy who became a true Man of Avon. Driscoll described PK as a quintessential Avonian: he was involved in everything, but did so authentically. He had a talent for identifying the kids who didn’t feel quite at home in the first days of school, and spent time with them to bring them into the Avon brotherhood. He was the “focal point” of a very successful varsity football team in 2001, a competitive athlete and student who embodied courage, respect, and honor. Driscoll urged students to follow PK’s lead and become completely involved in their school—as a student, as an athlete, and as a person.
“He was the finest example of what all Men of Avon strive to be,” explained Driscoll. “Few of us will lead a better life.”
Andrew was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, as an Army Ranger, serving as company executive officer and platoon leader. Following his first deployment he began Special Forces training, which he completed June 28, 2012. Andrew was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).