MOREHEAD CITY — ALCOVA Mortgage LLC recently honored veteran Keith Bernauer as a 2020 Hometown Hero.
Joining the U.S. Navy in 1993, Mr. Bernauer felt a unique desire to challenge himself to do more with his life, according to a release from ALCOVA. He began what he likes to describe as a very “diverse” military career.
His first four-year contract included being selected for the Presidential Honor Guard, which allowed him to serve in ceremonies at the White House with clearance with the president. He also obtained training as an operations specialist for tracking ships.
Mr. Bernauer finished his stint in April 1997 and received a basketball scholarship to attend Craven Community College. However, realizing it was not his passion, he decided to reenter the military in October 1998. He spent the next 14 years expanding his military career and was decorated with five Navy achievement medals upon his retirement in 2012.
Mr. Bernauer’s life took on a different turn when he transitioned back to civilian life. His sports background led him to a new career as a basketball coach with Carteret County Schools, where he also took on a teaching position in the in-school suspension classroom. His youth work in that classroom environment, and often on the court, led him to an understanding that many of his students did not have the chance to grow and thrive like he did as a kid. Therefore, Mr. Bernauer made a choice to step up to the plate to also serve as a father figure and mentor to those in need.
Mr. Bernauer shares that working to make a difference for the kids is time consuming and credits his wife for her sacrifices.
“There is no way for me to be able to do this without her,” Mr. Bernauer said. “She works so hard so that it will allow me to donate and give the time that I do to these kids and this mission. It’s because of her that I can be who I am to these kids.”
The ALCOVA Mortgage team at the Greenville branch visited Mr. Bernauer at Morehead City Middle School to present him his Hometown Hero award with his family and close friends in attendance.