DOVER, Tenn. (WSMV) – Steve Keel, a man from Dover, Tennessee, went missing during a hunting trip in the Alaskan wilderness in August of 2022.
Search efforts were halted by group officials in September as weather conditions worsened and Keel’s wife, Liz, withdrew the $15,000 reward money in January.
Months after his disappearance, Keel’s family and friends are now setting up a scholarship in his honor.
The Steve ‘Smiley’ Keel Scholarship hopes to raise $10,000 in funding to distribute scholarships worth $2,500 to four Stewart County High School students.
Liz said Smiley is her husband’s nickname.
The qualifications are undecided, but the scholarship will be geared towards those interested in going into trades or a career in agriculture, according to Liz.
“We felt we really wanted to keep his name going in a positive way,” Liz said. “Steve is an electrician. He grew up on a farm, so that was important to him as well.”
Liz said she also would like to start a foundation in Steve’s honor. Family and friends plan to work with a local program called Hunting Roots to teach youth about hunting safety and wildlife conservation.
“The reason we are having this conversation is because Steve loves hunting so much,” Liz said. “A lot of young people don’t get trained on that. His family and community were important to him. He would love this.”
Applications will be available through guidance counselors at Stewart County High School. Funds will be available this fall for the following school year.
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