Vicki Gardner was being interviewed live by WDBJ's Alison Parker to talk about how great the Smith Mountain Lake Region is and all the great things it has to offer.
During that live interview, Gardner was shot and wounded, while Parker and WDBJ Photographer Adam Ward were shot and killed by a deranged ex-station employee.
Gardner, the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce remains in the hospital after last week’s deadly shooting. But, she hopes that the shooting will not cast a negative light on the area.
The scene where the shooting happened, Bridgewater Plaza is back open again and other than a make-shift memorial, everything seems normal.
Don Habersack and his family live near Richmond, Virginia. They are 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 Habersack.
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 she 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 are 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.