NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Chad Worrell, James Pellum, Luke Smith, and David Keel have arrived in Fairbanks with a single mission—find Steve Keel. Keel is the Stewart County man who disappeared while on a hunting trip in Alaska.
The four Middle Tennessee men who flew to Alaska to find Keel say they have landed and are in good spirits as they make their way to the last place Keel was seen.
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Friends say Keel was on the trip of a lifetime with a friend hunting caribou when he separated and was never seen again late last month.
Steve’s sons flew to Alaska to look for their dad but returned home without any sign of him. These four men are picking up where Steve’s sons left off.
“If it had been him, if the shoe had been on the other foot, I would hope that there would be people like my husband and these other three men out there that would do everything they could to help me find them,” said Amanda Smith, Luke Smith’s wife.
Back in Stewart County, their wives, both proud and anxious, wait for their loved ones’ safe return. “My heart goes out to Steve’s family because I can’t imagine what they are going through right now.”
Amanda Smith says her husband, Luke, can take on a challenge as big as the Alaskan wilderness. He is retired Special Forces and has trained in the Alaskan wilderness during his military career.
James Pellum is retired Air Force, and David Keel is a lifelong outdoorsman. But the terrain in northern Alaska is so remote that their wives can only communicate with their husbands through messaging on a special satellite phone. The drive alone from the airport to where Steve was last seen is a day’s drive.
“They were driving 11 hours. Yeah, it’s a long drive. They’ve got two vehicles and two people to a vehicle so they are taking turns sleeping and driving,” said Smith.
The four men also reported back home that the weather in Alaska has been relatively warm, and that will help them in this search for Steve in the tough terrain.
If you would like to help in the search effort, you can donate at any F&M bank branch. Just say it’s for “the Search for Steve.”