Lupica: Alison Parker’s father takes on America’s shame — gun violence

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

He slammed his fist so loud we thought it was a bomb: Ex-boss of TV crew killer reveals gunman’s history of violent outbursts at the station.

(ROANOKE, Va.) — Community religious leaders gathered Sunday to remember 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward, the two television journalists who were shot and killed while working last week. The interfaith service at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke was filled with somber prayers across several religions, along with music from the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and others.

Her many accomplishments included Piedmont District Swimmer of the Year award, Big M Trophy recipient, and a member of the jazz and concert bands where she played both trumpet and French horn. Marks said he suspected that the most you would get out of Parker was an “emphatic ‘darn,” and then she would be back hard at work. “Mental illness cannot exist on the periphery of health care,” Marks said. “It should be obvious that it needs to be center stage because most mental illness is treatable if we can get to the sufferer. In this case, we didn’t.” Ward and Parker were on an early morning assignment for WDBJ-TV at Smith Mountain Lake when Vester Lee Flanagan walked up and shot them and Vicki Gardner, a Chamber of Commerce official, with a 9mm Glock pistol during a live interview.

She graduated from JMU in 2012 and joined the news team at WCTI12 in North Carolina as the Jacksonville bureau chief, covering Camp Lejeune and the surrounding area, where she relished the tough schedule and hard news. Alison was recruited to return to WDBJ7 in Roanoke as the Mornin’ Reporter last year, and she greeted viewers each weekday morning with a smile and her bubbly personality, hoping to make their day a little brighter. She was rehearsing to be a contestant in the Valley Stars benefit for the Salvation Army of Roanoke Turning Point, the only secure center in the Roanoke Valley for adult survivors and their children who are in imminent danger from family and intimate partner violence. Airy, NC; grandmothers Frances Bailey of Denison, TX and Gloria Parker of Austin, TX; aunts Lisa Foster of Sherman, TX, Kristin Bailey Murphy of Hollywood, CA, and Jane Ann Parker of Austin, TX; and cousins Kristin and Caitlin Miller of Dallas, TX, Meredith Foster of Georgetown, TX, and Jonas and Makenna Parker of Austin, TX; and countless special friends like Sasha, Katie, and Georgina.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the following scholarship funds or charitable organizations: Donations for the Alison B Parker Memorial Fund can be made online at the link above or checks for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship can be made payable to the JMU Foundation. From childhood, he loved Salem sports, especially football, and joined his father, a guidance counselor at Salem High School, as a 7th grader in the school system. While at Tech, he discovered a passion for journalism and interned on the Greg Roberts Radio Show and at WDBJ-7, which eventually led to a full-time role post-graduation. He is survived by his loving father and mother, Buddy and Mary Ward; sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Dave Crowder; brother, Jay Ward; fiancé, Melissa Ott; and niece, Olivia, or “tater tot” as her uncle Adam affectionately called her. A celebration of Adam’s life will be held 11:00 AM, Tuesday, September 1 at First Baptist Church in Roanoke, 515 3rd Street SW, Roanoke with Pastor Rob Lough officiating.

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