Tech football honors fallen journalists in first game of the season

Originally published by the Collegiate Times as News.
Published in print edition, page 6, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2015.

Virginia Tech athletics will honor two television journalists killed last Wednesday, August 26, with special helmet stickers during the football season opener on Labor Day versus Ohio State.

“It’s extremely important that the families and loved ones of Alison Parker, Adam Ward and WDBJ-TV know that we stand united with them through this painful time,” said Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer in an interview with Roanoke CBS affiliate WDBJ7. “My heart is absolutely broken for the Parker and Ward families, and my prayer is that they gain strength and peace through the support and love of this community.”

Alison Parker, a 2012 graduate of James Madison University, and Adam Ward, a 2011 graduate of Virginia Tech, were shot during a live broadcast for WDBJ7 at Smith Mountain Lake.

The memorial stickers were announced Sunday and feature the number seven, representing the station, and teal and maroon ribbons symbolizing Parker’s favorite color and Ward as a Virginia Tech graduate. Athletic events this past weekend also paid tribute, with teal and maroon ribbons distributed before the start of each event and a moment of silence during volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer.

“It just breaks your heart to hear these things. We want them to know how much we’re thinking about them,” Beamer said. “They’re not going to be forgotten.”

Scholarships have been founded in both victims’ names. The Alison B. Parker Memorial Fund is established through James Madison University. Parker is also a 2009 graduate of Patrick Henry Community College, which has established the Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Scholarship with the PHCC Foundation.

“Alison was a great example of what dedication and motivation can do in someone’s life,” said PHCC executive director Chris Parker (no relation). “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 Salem Educational Foundation and Alumni Association announced a scholarship in memory of Ward, a 2007 graduate of Salem High School, will benefit a Salem graduate who plans to pursue a career in journalism or photojournalism at Virginia Tech.

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