As I roamed up and down the field Friday to photograph the Buffaloes homecoming varsity football win over the Fort Chiswell Pioneers, Realized that I did pretty much the same thing 56 years ago as a 16-year-old school photographer on this same football field in 1964.
It would be my last homecoming football assignment for the Bison yearbook, the County Crier school newspaper and The Floyd Press. I would graduate from Floyd County High School the following Spring and move to Roanoke to take a job with The Roanoke Times and start college at The University of Virginia’s Roanoke Campus.
Five years afterward, I left the area to take another reporting job in Illinois for 12 years, then 23 years working out of Washington, DC.
I traveled the world, covering news, conflicts and other stories. I spent hours and days photographing the terrorists’ attack on the Pentagon in Washington and events that followed in this country and in other locations.
I’ve chronicled life and death in every continent of this world and photographed news and features in remote and often exotic places.
It was what I learned at The Floyd Press from 1963-65 from owner and editor Pete Hallman along with English teacher and journalism advisor Ruth Hallman — his wife — at Floyd County High School and the County Crier school newspaper that gave me a foundation to be a reporter and photojournalist for those many years.
Has it been 56 years ago? Yes. Sometimes, it feels like even longer ago. At other times, it feels like yesterday.
In many ways, I am back where I started, reporting news for The Floyd Press. I’m still a newspaperman, a profession that many call “a dying breed.”
Let’s hope my profession lasts longer than I do. For more than half a century, it has been my profession of choice and that leaves me a lucky and happy man.