First Eric Brady and now Sam Dean.
Our newsroom is losing another talented photographer at the end of the month.
Sam , who started at The Roanoke Times in 1999 after graduating from The University of Montana, will leave The Roanoke Times Aug. 31 to work as a freelance photographer.
Sam has covered stories across Western Virginia and across the world in the past 13 years. Along the way he’s won numerous state and national awards for his photography and multimedia videos and slideshows.
In the summer of 2004, Sam and reporter John Cramer traveled to Afghanistan with soldiers from Southwest Virginia in Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. You can see some of that reporting here. Since then, he’s told other military stories: covering a young Marine, Jordan Sherwood, recovering from an IED blast in 2005; and following a Salem teen, Todd Edgell, as he joined the Army 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Sam also traveled to the Dominican Republic to tell the story on Virginia Tech students running an orphanage there.
In the past few years, Sam has started writing stories while also photographing them. Terra, his monthly photo column focusing on the natural beauty of the Roanoke region, is one example.
His colleagues won’t just miss Sam’s work in the paper and on roanoke.com. We’ll also miss hearing about his adventures along the way.
Photo editor Natalee Waters said it well in her announcement off Sam’s departure: ” Sam and his mountaineer’s spirit of adventure will be missed. Sam could go to any assignment and come back with great photos AND great stories, many of which involved scaling fences, walls and other obstacles, or rappelling down the occasional cliff to get the shot we needed,” she wrote “As Sam free climbs into a new chapter of his life, we wish him all the best.”
Sam is leaving just two months after Brady, another award-winning photojournalist, took an early retirement to spend more time with his daughter. Eric, who worked on our photo staff for nearly two decades, was known for his signature photos taken on and around Mill Mountain.
We’ll miss both of them not just for their work (and work ethic) but also for their camaraderie.
Fortunately, both Eric and Sam plan to continue to live in the Roanoke Valley.