WDBJ7's Alison Parker and Adam Ward had big plans, bright futures

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) (Original story from Aug. 26, 2015) Alison Parker could have fun with a morning feature, but she had a passion for hard news.

Her recent work on WDBJ7's child abuse special, "Childhood Lost," was a point of pride. And WDBJ7 Anchor Chris Hurst says it was a preview of important stories to come.

"I am just saddened and upset that I selfishly and the rest of this community will not be able to see all of the other stories and all of the extra work that she was going to be able to produce while she was here at this station," Hurst said Wednesday afternoon, "because she had big ideas and big plans and I have no doubt in my mind that she was going to be able to do all of them."

Hurst and Parker had been dating. They recently moved in together, Hurst said, to save money for a house and a ring.

Adam Ward spent most of his time behind the scenes with a camera on his shoulder. He was an important part of the Mornin' team too.

He was frequent participant in Alison's live shots, whether he was offering a comment off-camera, or joining Alison on screen.

Adam was engaged to morning producer Melissa Ott. This was her last day at WDBJ7 before leaving for a new job in Charlotte. They were planning their wedding.

"He was the most loving, doting fiance I have ever come across and Melissa gave that right back to him," Hurst said. "Adam was a great person. And for him and Alison to be gone is unfair. It's unfair."

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Alison Parker and Adam Ward weren't beginners, but they were at the beginning of their careers. And both of them had big plans in their personal and professional lives.

Alison was smart and dedicated to her work.

Adam was a capable photographer who would go the extra mile to get the job done.

And they had a lot in common.

Both Alison and Adam grew up in this part of Virginia

Alison was from Martinsville. She was a graduate of Martinsville High School, and James Madison University.

She was a dancer. And she loved the outdoors, especially water sports such as kayaking and white water rafting.

Adam attended Salem High School, where he played football. He was a Virginia Tech graduate and a huge Hokies fan.

Both worked as interns at WDBJ7 before they signed on as employees. And Alison worked at a television station in North Carolina before she returned to WDBJ7 in 2014.

Adam had been here for four years, first as an employee of our production department, and more recently as a photographer in News.

He and Alison had been working together on WDBJ7 Mornin' for just over a year.

And both found love at the television station.

Adam was engaged to morning producer Melissa Ott. This was her last day at WDBJ7 before moving to a new job in Charlotte. And they were planning their wedding.

Alison and our Six o'clock anchor Chris Hurst were dating. They had moved in together, Chris said Wednesday afternoon, to save money for a house and a ring.

"It's a nightmare to know that both of them are lost well before we should have been talking about this," Chris said, "for reasons that will never be fully understood or explained."

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Alison Parker and Adam Ward were really just starting their careers.

Both of them had big plans and bright futures.

Regular viewers of Mornin' had a good sense of what kind of people they were, from Alison's work in front of the camera and Adam's interaction with the morning crew, behind the camera and on the air.

Alison was smart and ambitious. Adam was a capable photographer who would go the extra mile to get the job done. And they had a lot in common. They worked together every morning,

Both Alison and Adam were natives of this area.

Alison grew up in Martinsville. Adam in Salem.

Alison was a graduate of Martinsville High School, and James Madison University.

Adam attended Salem High School, where he played football. He was a Virginia Tech graduate and a huge Hokies fan.

And both of them were worked as interns here at WDBJ7 before they signed on as employees.

Alison worked at a station in Jacksonville, North Carolina, before she returned to WDBJ7 in 2014.

Adam had been here for four years, first as an employee of our production department, and more recently as a photographer in News.

He and Alison had been working together on WDBJ7 Mornin' for almost a year, covering everything from community events to breaking news. And they did it well.

And both of them had fallen in love with co-workers.

Adam was engaged to our morning producer Melissa Ott. They were planning their wedding.

Alison and our Six O'clock anchor Chris Hurst were dating.

We are shattered by the news this morning. And our hearts go out to family and friends of Alison Parker and Adam Ward.