STEWART COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Friends and family of the Tennessee man who went missing in Alaska last year continue the search, as they also work to cement Steve Keel’s legacy.

It has been seven months since Steve disappeared while on a hunting trip in Alaska with a hunting partner. In order to honor the outdoorsman, they are establishing a scholarship fund in Steve’s name, and one day, even a foundation. Both the scholarship and the foundation would center around Steve’s love of the outdoors.

“Our goal for the first year is four $2,500 scholarships,” said Erica Dowdy, a family friend of the Keels.

Dowdy said that the “Steve ‘Smiley’ Keel Scholarship presented by Mossy Oak Properties Tennessee Land & Farm” will be open to students who, like Steve, are passionate about land, water and wildlife conservation and want to continue their education in a trade, technical or agriculture school.

Steve’s wife, Liz Keel, said that this honor would make her husband so happy.

“Outdoors was everything to him. In the hottest hot and the coldest cold, he would find something to do outdoors,” said Liz. “I was amazed and overwhelmed and so grateful. It’s just going to be such a wonderful thing to have his name go forward with things that he loved, that he felt really passionate about.”

But it does not end with the scholarship. Dowdy and Liz are both laying the groundwork for a foundation in Steve’s name, too. They plan to work with a local program called Hunting Roots to teach youth about hunting safety and survival in the wilderness so what happened to Steve would not happen to anyone else.

“I’m trying not to cry. It could have saved his life if they had been put in place. To get hunters, even youth, adults, to take these things into consideration and bring awareness to that and Steve’s story. I think people need to hear Steve’s story, especially hunters, especially young hunters,” said Dowdy.

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Dowdy and Liz plan to start accepting scholarship applications in the fall.