Because of the Brave
It's not often in someone's lifetime where they get to meet a Medal of Honor Recipient. Colonel Harvey C. "Barney" Barnum and I share the same hometown of Cheshire, CT. Visiting him and his beautiful wife Martha over the years have contributed to me wanting to do more and be more. Life lessons learned that I will cherish and pass on.
Gold Star Families are something I learned about first hand while attending VetsRock at Mohegan Sun. These families are owed a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid.
This was where I met Bob and Helen and learned about APK Charities. The left picture is Bob giving me Andrew's grave marker at Arlington after asking me to lay a wreath on their behalf during Wreaths Across America.
The middle picture are Gold Star Wives from Fort Bragg who were part of Salute The Troops at Mohegan Sun.
The right picture is the Thomas Rhett concert at Mohegan Sun with Bob and Helen for an APK fundraiser.
Helen is the current American Gold Star Mothers Inc. Connecticut Chapter President
I had the pleasure to meet Bob and Helen along my journey and it is through them I have gotten to know their son, Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel. On the morning of March 11, 2013 Andrew was conducting a patrol briefing when a 20-year-old Afghan jumped into the back of an Afghan Police pickup truck, grabbed the machine gun mounted on the truck bed, and mowed down the Special Forces team. Andrew was mortally wounded. I will continue to support the legacy of Andrew through APK Charities www.apkcharities.org.
I first volunteered for Wreaths Across America December 14, 2013 and have been a part of it ever since. Remember, Honor, Teach is their motto which I take on whole-heartedly. I have met many people while volunteering, from Gold Star Families to Company Commanders who have told me the stories of those who are buried there. I will always say their names so they are not forgotten.