Inspired by a Warrior
Warrior for Life, Inc. is inspired by and created in loving memory of Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel, a loving son, wonderful brother and passionate friend.
A graduate of West Point Academy in 2006, Andrew was a Special Forces Captain and while serving his third deployment, was killed by enemy fire. He is the recipient of 3 Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. Andrew was honored to be doing what he was doing and said of his position, “Leading soldiers is, in my humble opinion, the most utterly compelling, demanding, and rewarding experience a young man could possibly have."
Andrew was positively impacted by his sister's passion for Yoga. Through Warrior For Life, Inc., Andrew's sister, Mary Keel, intends to positively impact other veterans in Andrew's honor. His legacy and memory will live on through the work that will be performed in his name.
Meet the team
Mary Keel is a native of Miami, a graduate of Coral Gables High, Miami Dade College, and Florida International University. She is a marketing professional, a former social media manager and a 200HR Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher. Mary teaches a weekly yoga class at the Miami Vet Center and is an Ambassador for Connected Warriors Inc. In addition to teaching yoga, Mary is a licensed Real Estate Sales Associate and specializes in neighborhoods and lifestyles of Miami.
Mary founded Warrior For Life Inc, a nonprofit that was created in honor of her brother CPT Andrew M. Pedersen-Keel who was killed by enemy fire while serving his third deployment in Afghanistan in March 2013. Warrior For Life Inc is dedicated to raising awareness of Post Traumatic Stress by connecting Veterans and their families to the healing powers of yoga, the outdoors and community engagement. Mary is a yogi at heart and believes once a warrior, always a warrior.
Laura E. Ortiz
At first glance, it is evident that 48-year-old Laura Ortiz is a warrior. As a U.S. Army National Guard veteran who experienced a below-knee amputation after having reintegrated to civilian life, she has gone on to become a Coca-Cola spokesperson, para-triathlete, motivational speaker, fitness instructor, certified personal trainer, outreach yoga instructor, coach and mentor for others who have also faced diverse life challenges. Passionate about sharing her inspirational story, Ms. Ortiz has been featured in various national media outlets including most recently CNN, NY Fox & Friends, Telemundo, The White House Easter Egg Roll, The Essence Music Festival, The NRPA Magazine, Club Solutions Magazine, ESPN W and The Wall Street Journal. Fusing confidence, grace, and power, she effortlessly transmits her infectious personality and optimistic outlook to everyone she encounters. She has been with Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces, as a Recreation Specialist II for five years and was the Troops for Fitness Program Developer and Enhance Fitness Program Coordinator based County-Wide.
Michelle Cejas is a Miami native, a childhood friend of Mary Keel, and founding Board Member of Warrior For Life, Inc. She brings with her 16+ years of nonprofit/grants management and grants writing experience, a diverse skills-set in various technological applications, e.g. website design, graphics, etc. All her professional work experience has been in the public and nonprofit sectors including her current position as a Grants Analyst for Miami-Dade County. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Florida State University. She is passionate about the yoga, veterans, and is committed to seeing Warrior For Life, Inc. thrive and realize organizational growth and sustainability.
Healing Powers of Yoga
Raising awareness of Post Traumatic Stress by connecting Veterans and their families to the healing powers of yoga, the outdoors and community engagement.
Warrior For Life, Inc. is dedicated to raising awareness of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and associated conditions by connecting veterans and their families to the healing powers of yoga, the outdoors and community engagement.