David Flowers: A life of service to community and country

Marlboro County School District (MCSD) Board Secretary David Flowers
Marlboro County School District (MCSD) Board Secretary David Flowers

Don’t confuse the quiet deportment of Marlboro County School District’s (MCSD) Board Secretary David Flowers with an inability to engage his community. With his service on city council; as chaplain for the local Sheriff’s Department and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team; in the S.C. Army National Guard (SCANG) for more than 20 years, which included three deployments; and as an emergency medical technician (EMT) of more than 40 years, he has proven nothing can be further from true.

The Marlboro County native began volunteering with his local rescue squad in Feb. 1980, while working at J.P. Stevens textile company.

“I love community work and helping others,” said Flowers, whose life motto is, “Let my light shine, not from talking it but from walking it – to serve others.”

The power of Flowers’ example had such a lasting impact on the former sheriff who happened to be a member of the same SCANG unit, he asked if Flowers would serve as chaplain of the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Department.

“I attended the International Police Chaplain Course and (I) guess the rest is history,” Flowers said.

One service led to another, and Flowers also became a chaplain for the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.

“I have always respected Billy Graham and applied to help, having deployment experience and (as) a paramedic, figured I would give it a try,” he said.

For many years, Flowers was able to juggle 60- and 70-hour work weeks and all his other activities, but one life-altering experience caused him to slow things down, at least for a while.

Upon retiring from the SCANG, Flowers completed training to become a paramedic. His son, Erick, joined him in the profession.

“I enjoyed being a paramedic, but I really enjoyed doing it with him (Erick),” said Flowers.

Flowers left the house one day for about an hour and returned home to find his son unresponsive.

“At 41 years old, he’d had a cardiac event,” said Flowers, who soon after retired from the profession. “(The hours are) for a young man, plus the passing of Erick.”

He worked as a paramedic for Marlboro County as well as a field supervisor for Emergency Management Services and as a critical care paramedic for Cape Fear Valley Medical Center before diving fully into volunteer services in the county.

He was encouraged by those in his community to serve on city council and the school board. From both he has gleaned basically the same thing – it’s a lot of give and take.

“You have only one vote and to get things accomplished sometimes you got to give,” Flowers said. “The community needs to see unity.”

Flowers, who is raising two of his grandchildren, said he and his wife, Tammy, have learned a great deal about compromise and understanding.

“Raising children in the 1980s was way different than in 2024,” said Flowers. “One of the biggest (differences) is they don’t play outside, ride bikes and do things outside. It’s all about the gaming devices as I call them.”

Tammy is a teacher assistant in MCSD and has been for more than 20 years.

Link to obituary for Erick David Flowers at Burroughs Funeral Home