State fire marshal presents flag, plaque to widows of fallen firefighters.

June 2, 2021

State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer presents a plaque and flag to Joan Brooks, left, and Anna Buitendorp in honor of their late husbands.

State fire marshal presents flag, plaque to widows of fallen firefighters.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

GRANT TOWNSHIP — The Grant Township Fire Department suffered the loss of firefighter Michael Buitendorp, Nov. 19, and then a month later the loss of Fire Chief Roland Brooks, Dec. 20.

Buitendorp died from a medical issue while responding to a fire, and Brooks died of complications from COVID-19.

State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer visited the Grant Township Hall Tuesday evening, June 1, to present a flag to Buitendorp’s widow Anna and a plaque to Brooks’ widow Joan. 

The flag was flown at half staff at the state capitol the day of Buitendorp’s funeral, said Sehlmeyer. 

“I also want to take the opportunity to thank all of you for your service,” said the fire marshal to the firefighters in the audience. 

“I really appreciate this, but we’ve had the flag that you’ve handed to me since Mike’s funeral on our mantel and we look at it every day,” said Anna Buitendorp while fighting back tears. “And I really appreciate this, but I really would like to take this opportunity to give this flag to Mike’s second family and have it housed here. So, I am giving this to you, chief,” she said as she handed the flag to Grant Township Fire Chief Dan Yost. 

“I would like to say to this fire department that I appreciate each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart,” said Joan Brooks as she also fought back tears. “I couldn’t have asked for a better support group — other than my family — than this fire department. You called; visited; and kept me going, and I thank you for this.”

Brooks, who died at age 82, served as fire chief for 40 years and had been on the fire department for 56 years. He is also survived by four children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Buitendorp, who passed away at age 40, is also survived by four young children.

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