-- Before Alison Parker accepted a reporting position in her hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, she had cultivated a reputation among the U.S. Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as someone to take seriously.
Nat Fahy, the base’s Public Affairs Director, said he grew close to Parker during her time at ABC affiliate WCTI, where she worked from December of 2012 to 2014.
“Alison immediately struck me as someone whose star was clearly on the rise,” Fahy told ABC News in a phone interview. “She was professional, she was tenacious, she blew up my phone many, many times, inquiring about stories that she could cover aboard the base, good and bad.”
Those stories include a visit by former NFL player and veteran Herschel Walker, who Parker interviewed over a speech he was giving at the base about mental health.
“She just treated every story very seriously,” Fahy said. “It can really be a challenge for anyone unfamiliar with our military culture to cover the Marine Corps with its complex organizations and its vernacular, but she always went above and beyond to check the facts with me and my public affairs team and ultimately treated us fairly whether the news was good or bad.”
Parker had celebrated her 24th birthday only a week before her death, but Fahy said she earned profound respect at the base in one instance, when an interview subject suddenly cancelled on her.
“She was able to create something out of the very little material that she had and did it with such flare and such enthusiasm,” Fahy said. “I think that anyone who wants to cut their teeth in this business needs to review the work that is Alison Parker.”
Fahy said those who knew her at the base are “taking this extremely hard.”
“In our world, this is one of those moments where somebody we knew intimately, she worked among us for about a year and a half, this tragedy happening, you know, so young and so soon,” Fahy said. “We just want to express our collective sympathies and prayers to her families and friends and especially her former colleagues in the news media that covers us regularly here.”