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Hauppauge street renamed to honor decorated soldier who grew up there

John Kettell and Kim Hicks, parents of Army

John Kettell and Kim Hicks, parents of Army Spc. Ryan Kettell, at Sunday's ceremony unveiling the sign renaming Oran Court in Hauppauge for their son. Credit: James Carbone

Spc. Ryan N. Kettell grew up playing roller hockey on Oran Court in Hauppauge and each year on his birthday, his father painted a regulation-size hockey court on Oran Court for Ryan and his friends to play a game in celebration.

On Sunday, Kettell’s family and friends met local officials and veterans on Oran Court to ceremonially rename the street where “Ryan’s hockey parties,” took place in his honor. Now, a street sign that reads “Spc. Ryan N. Kettell,” hangs just below the Oran Court sign.

Kettell, 23, died in June 2018 after serving in the U.S. Army for nearly five years. Neither Kettell’s family nor local officials shared details of his death. 

After graduating from St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington, Kettell enlisted in September 2013 and joined the 759th Military Police Battalion. He received many awards during his service, including the National Defense Service Medal, most of which his family was unaware of until his death, Smithtown officials said in a news release about the street renaming.

“From those great memories of childhood to service in our country to today, Ryan continues to live on forever,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), an Army veteran, said during a brief service when the new street sign was unveiled.

About 50 people, including County Executive Steve Bellone and Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, attended.

Kettell’s parents, John Kettell and Kim Hicks, thanked the crowd for attending and shared memories of their son’s childhood playing on the neighborhood streets. The family has moved away from the home on Oran Court, but fondly recalled their son's childhood in the neighborhood.

Kettell’s former neighbor, Rick DePasquale, proposed the street renaming to Smithtown officials about six months ago.

DePasquale said he and his family noticed signs around town in honor of other fallen soldiers and came up with the idea to rename the street for Ryan. 

Smithtown Public Information Officer Nicole Garguilo said once the idea was presented to the town, it took just a few months to ensure the street was in their jurisdiction and to ask neighbors for approval. Garguilo said all neighbors were supportive of the effort.

“When he joined the Army, I think the whole community was really proud," DePasquale said. “We’ll miss him.”

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