Scholarships to Commemorate Slain Virginia Journalists

Scholarships to Commemorate Slain Virginia Journalists
Susan Dutca-Lovell

In the midst of Wednesday's tragic shooting and killing of WDBJ7 journalist Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by alleged gunman and former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan, Parker's alma mater, James Madison University is accepting donations for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship. Similarly, Patrick Henry Community College, where Parker received her associate's degree, is accepting donations for their Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Scholarship. There is an identical scholarship being created for Ward, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011.

The two young journalists were shot and killed on-air early Wednesday morning as Flanagan recorded the shooting from a gunman POV and posted it to Twitter and Facebook before being chased by police on Interstate 66. Flanagan had crashed the vehicle and suffered from self-inflicted wounds. He later died at a nearby hospital. Flanagan had faxed a 23-page manifesto/suicide note to ABC News, detailing his plans to respond to the racism of the Charleston church shooting. He also cited his own grievances; he claims being attacked by black men and white females, being discriminated against for being a gay, black man, suffering racial and sexual harassment and being bullied at work. A former reporter at WDBJ7, it was reported that Flanagan posed a hostile threat and disturbance to co-workers. This according to internal memos from WDBJ7 news Chief Dan Dennison, who cited Flanagan's "aggressive" behavior towards colleagues. Consequently, Flanagan was fired and it was recommended he seek medical attention. In his manifesto, the gunman had referred to himself as a "human powder keg" that was "waiting to go BOOM!"

Following the tragedy, scholarships are being created to memorialize the two WDBJ7 journalists by their respective schools. Those who wish to inquire about and/or support these scholarships may do so by contacting the schools directly:

James Madison University
JMU Advancement Gifts and Records
ATTN: Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship
MSC 3603
Harrisonburg, VA 22807.

Patrick Henry Community College
Patrick Henry Community College Foundation
645 Patriot Ave.
Martinsville, VA 24112

Hopefully, these scholarships will not only provide opportunity for future students of these institutions, but also preserve the memory of those who were so brutally and senselessly slain.

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