Lone survivor of TV crew shooting hopes to turn negative into a positive


MONETA (WSLS 10) - Friends of Vicki Gardner said the lone survivor of a deadly shooting at Smith Mountain Lake doesn't want the tragedy to define the area.

Vicki Gardner remains in the hospital after last week's deadly shooting. The incident happened while she was being interviewed on live television. Gardner is the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Things seem to be back to normal at Bridgewater Plaza less than a week after the two journalists were killed. However, a make-shift memorial serves as a growing reminder of a senseless shooting many won't soon forget.

Don Habersack and his family live near Richmond, Virginia. They were visiting Smith Mountain Lake and were among those to take a moment to honor Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

"I wanted to see what people did to honor the people that died," said Don Habersack.

The memorial at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Center honors the lives lost. The third victim, the only survivor, Vicki Gardner remains in the hospital. Friends said Gardner wants to turn the negative incident into a positive for Smith Mountain Lake.

Pastor Troy Keaton works with Gardner at the Chamber of Commerce. He's been by her side at the hospital throughout her recovery. Keaton said Vicki remains optimistic and wants people to focus on the good times at Smith Mountain Lake.

"We know the lake is a beautiful place that should be envied and that's what Vicki wants," Keaton said. "She wants this to be a positive face on the lake again and not let this be the person or the deed that defines the lake".

Although it is still in the planning phase, Keaton said Gardner wants to use the donations made to her - to create new activities and attract more people to Smith Mountain Lake.

"It's an awful tragedy but there will be something good that comes out of this darkness and that is what our prayers are for," said Pastor Keaton.

Smith Mountain Lake is a place Gardner and many others love. Visitors said they hope to prevent the shooting from overshadowing the peace the lake provides.

"I think Alison and Adam would want that," Said Sallie Roberts, Rocky Mount resident.