First Posted: 12/24/2008
To the Editor,
In 1969 our family moved to Moneta, Va. Moneta is located about halfway between Lynchburg and Roanoke in Bedford County. My husband, Tommy C. Floyd, accepted a call to become pastor of Radford Baptist Church. We lived there until October 1979 wen Tommy accepted a call to come to Mt. Airy as pastor of Indian Grove Baptist Church where we are now.
The parsonage and church were located within sight of Prison Camp #24. There was only one home that was between the parsonage and prison. Tommy soon became Chaplain of the Camp. Ever so often he was invited to come and eat lunch with the prisoners, which he did.
On one side of the Camp were prisoners who had to be locked up because of the crimes they had committed. When Tommy would go to that side, the guards would unlock the iron door and bars so he could go in and then would lock them until he was ready to come out.
Another part of the prison were where the trustees stayed. They were not locked behind iron doors and bars. They were allowed to come and go around the prison grounds. (Of course, there was a tall iron fence all the way around the prison with what looked like barbed wire at the top.)
Our church invited some of the trustees to come and sing at the church which they did. This didnt last long. They had to stop coming because some people were concerned for safety reasons that might affect the prison and members of our congregation. Just a note: No incident occurred during the time they came to church.
In the almost 10 years we were there (remember this was almost 30 years ago and prisons have come a long way since then) prison escapes were very rare. If one did escape he didnt stay around but left the area. No one in the community was ever threatened by an escapee.
This is just to let the public know of a true experience that a local family experienced while living within sight of a prison camp for almost 10 years.
My family has no problem with a prison camp being located in our county.
Mrs. Tommy (Barbara) Floyd
P.S. Tommy has received cards and letters from some of the prisoners since we left.