Gary “Buddy” Wayne McKeel, Jr. was born in Morehead City, NC on June 3, 1999. He was a lifelong resident of Carteret County and graduated from West Carteret High School in 2017. Buddy attended One Harbor Church and worked as a technician at the North Carolina Marine Fisheries. He played many sports and loved baseball, but his true passion was being outdoors hunting, fishing, and being on the water.
After graduation, Buddy’s love of the water led him to get his Captain’s license and to seek fulfilling work on the waters of the Crystal Coast. He was enthusiastic about boat customization, revitalizing the coast, and passion projects at the Marine Fisheries.
To know Buddy was to love him. His infectious smile and love of life were just two of the many qualities that made him an incredible young man. He was passionate about his family and friends and would drop anything to help someone in need.
Buddy could relate to people from all walks of life. He was an empathetic young man. He valued character over pedigree. He looked for the good in each person — and usually found it.
Growing up, Buddy was taught that public service is noble and necessary; that one can serve with integrity and hold true to important values, like faith and family. He strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and country in which he lived.
The Buddy McKeel Scholarship embodies his beliefs and we know that he would be honored to have his name represent such a worthy cause.