Sparking a fresh start

Johnny Flowers, 65, plans to give back to his community upon graduating from KC’s welding program. PHOTOGRAPH BY TORY VAN BLARCUM / THE FLARE
Flowers, 65, plans to give back to his community upon graduating from KC’s welding program. PHOTOGRAPH BY TORY VAN BLARCUM / THE FLARE

The famous Nike slogan that has been propelled around the world can be inspirational in itself.

“Just Do It.” There is no going around it, over it, or under it. Just Do It. That slogan can be used in so many ways, but for 65-year-old Johnny Flowers that slogan is used for going back to school.

Flowers is a native of Marshall, and he is in love with welding.

That is one thing he has always enjoyed doing throughout his life. Flowers worked at Grubb’s Pottery Plant in Marshall until it shut down a couple of years ago. While there Flowers was able to do a lot of work that enhanced his skills to make things with his hands.  After the plant shut down he saw it as a blessing in disguise.

“I’m not regretting it at all. It gave me a second chance to come back to school, and get my certification,” Flowers said.

Flowers’ goal is to earn his Associates Degree in Welding so he can become a welding instructor and help younger people do what he has always enjoyed doing.

“I just want to be able to help somebody else. There are plenty of kids out there that want to weld and want to become a welder and I just want to be there to help them on their journey.” Flowers said.

Flowers knows there is plenty more to welding than just running the rod through the metal, and that it’s going to take some time for students to get the hang of it, but he is definitely up for the challenge.

“Welding can take people far, it can get these kids a great job where they are making great money,” Flowers said.

“Welding on a pipeline is great, but there’s so much more that can be done with welding that can produce big money. The opportunities are out there, and I want to help the kids get them,” Flowers said.

Flowers attended technical school in Marshall, but opted to come to KC because he felt like that KC’s program was more experienced while Marshall’s was just in the beginning stages.

Flowers has been at KC since Spring 2013. He is taking core classes such as math and English while earning


his degree to teach in welding. It may be hard, but he is making it look easy.

“It’s a challenge, it’s like stepping in the future when you are from the past,” Flowers said.

“All my friends told me that they couldn’t do what I’m doing at the age I am, and that I am special. It’s hard to learn all this work all over again and learn how to use the computer again, but it’s what I have to do,” Flowers said.

Flowers spends the majority of his time in The Zone tutoring lab that is located in the Student Support Building.

“The Zone is a great place to study and the people in here have helped me get used to this college work a little better,” Flowers said. “I’m learning how to be a better speaker, writer and better teacher. I’ve got to want it for myself and I have to be sincere. That’s the only way that I’m going to get results. I will not hold back.”

He has a wife and four children. He has also been a preacher since the 1970s. As pastor of the Howell Town Church of Christ in Jefferson he knows God is the only reason he is able to cope with the challenges that college throws at him.

“I love God, and I love being a preacher. It’s something that I have always loved and I really enjoy it,” Flowers said.

Flowers preaches every Sunday and everybody knows who he is. Flowers is a living testimony that nobody is ever too old to learn.