As family members, coworkers and friends begin to mourn the loss of two Virginia journalists killed on air, supporters have already found a meaningful way to honor their legacies.
Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed by a former station employee on Wednesday morning while broadcasting for Roanoke news station WDBJ7. Mourners say each had bright futures ahead, both professionally and in their private lives, and hope that scholarship funds set up in their memories will at least allow their dreams to live on through others.
For Parker, who started out at WDBJ7 as an intern, scholarship funds have been established at two of her alma maters.
During her junior and senior years at Martinsville High School in Virginia, Parker took a number of college-level broadcast journalism courses at Patrick Henry Community College, the college announced in a statement.
Patrick credited much of her success to the jumpstart she got at PHCC and the college has set up the Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Scholarship in her honor. It will be awarded yearly to a student entering the media design and production program.
Parker graduated from PHCC in 2009 with an associate degree.
“Alison was a great example of what dedication and motivation can do in someone’s life,” Christopher Parker, director of the PHCC Foundation, said in a statement. “As a product of PHCC and Martinsville, she made us all proud of her achievements and the way she carried herself through that success in life.”
The director has no relation to the slain journalist.
James Madison University, where Parker graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in media arts and design, has also set up a fund in her name.
The university established the Alison B. Parker Memorial Fund in the School of Media Arts & Design in her honor.
While a student at JMU, Parker kick-started her journalism career by serving as a reporter and editor for the student newspaper, The Breeze.
Supporters are in the process of setting up a fund for Ward, who was killed while manning the camera during the morning broadcast on Wednesday, according to WDBJ7.
Ward, a 2011 graduate of Virginia Tech, was beloved by his colleagues for both his professionalism and warm demeanor.
“We get here really early in the morning and when we get in, they just make this newsroom come alive,” Leo Hirshburner, the station’s morning meteorologist, said in the wake of the tragedy.
Find out more about the Alison B. Parker Memorial Fund at James Madison University here and learn more about how you can contribute to the scholarship set up in Parker's name at Patrick Henry Community College here.