Bellwood Mourns Homeland Security Dept.’s Deputy Chief

Thursday, August 8, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Featured image: Michael J. Buchanan, the deputy chief of the Bellwood’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, died last month. | Facebook

Michael J. Buchanan — the deputy chief of the Bellwood’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management — has died. He was 36. Buchanan died on July 29, according to department officials.

When reached on Thursday afternoon, Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey said that an autopsy had been performed but Buchanan’s cause of death is still inconclusive.

Buchanan, who was an air comptroller by profession, grew up in Maywood, attended Irving Elementary School (now Irving Middle School), Proviso East High School and Triton College, Harvey said. Buchanan moved to Bellwood in 2011 — the year he joined the homeland security department. The department, which is strictly voluntary and separate from the village’s fire and police departments, is responsible for responding to emergencies and facilitating public safety at village events, such as the upcoming Taste of Bellwood, which is scheduled to take place over the weekend.

“Michael was an asset who worked his way up the ranks,” Harvey said. “He was one of the smartest young guys I knew and a wonderful employee who did everything he could for Bellwood, his department and surrounding communities to bring awareness about disasters.”

According to a statement posted to the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Facebook paste, Buchanan held an MBA, along with degrees in emergency management, business operations and fire science.

“He knew the discipline of Homeland Security and Emergency Management provides a lens through which to view all hazards, assess all threats, and work to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond and recover,” the statement notes.

Buchanan “devoted many hours to his community, always thinking of ways to better serve the village. A former fireman and paramedic, he worked full-time as an air-traffic controller and represented its union.”

“As soon as he came to Bellwood, he became involved in the community,” Harvey said. “He brought us a wealth of knowledge.”

The mayor said that Buchanan was working hard on ensuring public safety at the upcoming Taste of Bellwood. Harvey said that the village is currently drafting a resolution in Buchanan’s honor.

The visitation for Buchanan is Thursday, Aug. 8, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Wallace Broadview Funeral Home, 2020 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Broadview. The funeral is Friday, Aug. 9, 10 a.m. (wake) and 11 a.m. (service) at First Baptist Church of Melrose Park, 2114 Main St. in Melrose Park. VFP

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