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Brunswick County Commissioners Chairman David Sandifer, who died last Friday, was remembered Monday for his unwavering commitment to the community.
The Rev. Phil Norris, a fellow county commissioner who officiated Sandifer’s memorial service, relived Sandifer’s commitment to his family, his friends and his extended family—the citizens of Brunswick County.
Sandifer’s commitment was evident by the hundreds of people who gathered to celebrate his life, including local and state officials, county employees and members of the community he served and supported.
But Sandifer’s commitment to Brunswick County went beyond his role as county commissioner.
Sandifer, who had been a
commissioner since 1996, also served on the board of health, the criminal justice partnership advisory board, the Communities in Schools advisory board, the board of directors of Hope Harbor Home, the Brunswick County Jail Population management committee, the Brunswick County Rescue Squads Capital Expenditure Committee, the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority and many other boards and committees.
For his continued commitment to the community, Sandifer was inducted Friday into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor.
County commissioners on Monday approved a resolution supporting Sandifer’s induction to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
In his nomination letter, county health director Don Yousey wrote, “He had served as the strongest public health advocate possible with the board of county commissioners garnering both financial and political support of our efforts to better serve the citizens of Brunswick County.”
District attorney Rex Gore said Sandifer always supported law enforcement agencies throughout the county. “He was a fair man, who I think had the best interest of the county at heart,” Gore said.
“He was very supportive of law enforcement and a champion for our Teen Court program.”
The county’s Teen Court program is a joint effort between the district attorney’s office and Communities in Schools. Sandifer served on the CIS advisory board since its inception in 1997.
CIS Executive Director Cynthia Tart said Sandifer served as the board’s program chair, whose leadership was “exemplary.”
“You could always depend on him for sound advice, guidance and insight,” Tart said.
In the 11 years he served on the CIS board, Tart said she couldn’t recall a time Sandifer missed a board meeting or a major event, which she says reflects his character.
“He always said, ‘If you’re on time for a meeting, you’re late,’” Tart recalled.
Tart said Sandifer continually recognized CIS staff and board members for their work with the organization.
“The worth of his work with CIS will be here forever with the organization,” Tart said.
Emergency services director Randy Thompson echoed Tart’s thoughts about Sandifer’s commitment.
Thompson said Sandifer, who served on various public safety and law enforcement committees, was “extremely committed to a number of different projects throughout the county.”
“Many of us lost a good friend Friday,” Thompson said.
“David was the kind of guy that set the example for commitment. He didn’t waste any of his earthly time.”
Sandifer was instrumental in implementing different programs and improving services throughout the county, Thompson said.
“And he was committed to making the process and the system better than it was the day before,” he said.
“His participation in everything is truly going to be missed. But the programs and the things he has done for the county are going to live on for decades.”
Born in Florence, S.C., Sandifer moved to Brunswick County in 1983. He was previously employed with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and several airlines.
Before being elected county commissioner, Sandifer served as a Holden Beach Commissioner from 1991-1995.
Sandifer is survived by his wife of 23 years, Pat Griffin Sandifer, and children Victoria and Scott Brown, Donald and Tina McKeithan, Michael and DeeAnn McKeithan, Katherine McKeithan, and Gordon Nash Jr. and fiance Jennifer Quaintance.
Six grandchildren, one great-grandson, a brother, a sister and several nieces and nephews also survive him.
He was 63 years old.
The Brunswick County Republican Party has 30 days from last Friday to nominate Sandifer’s interim replacement, county attorney Huey Marshall said.
County commissioners will then appoint the Republicans’ nominee to serve until next December. Brunswick County Republican Party Chairman Frank Iler said the executive committee, which consists of about 32 members, would vote for the nominee sometime around April 24.
Executive committee members and commissioners Bill Sue, Phil Norris, state representative Bonner Stiller, and board of education members will also vote for the Republican nominee, Iler said.
The Republican’s nominee must be a resident of Sandifer’s district, District 2.
Sixty days before November’s General Election, both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party will nominate a candidate to be on the ballot to serve for the remaining two years of Sandifer’s term, Marshall said.