Paying tribute to a fallen hero.

November 23, 2020

Paying tribute to a fallen hero.

OCEANA COUNTY — Area emergency workers honored their colleague, Grant Township firefighter Michael Buitendorp, 40, who died in the line of duty.

Firefighters, police officers, ambulance workers, dispatchers and tow truck drivers held a 5-mile-long procession Monday afternoon, Nov. 23, that began at Harris Funeral Home in Shelby, traveled south on Oceana Drive through New Era — Buitendorp’s hometown — and proceeded east on Arthur Road to Eagles Cemetery.

Several people gathered in Shelby and New Era and some stood along Oceana Drive to watch the procession and pay tribute to the hero. Several people waved US flags in his honor.

Buitendorp died while responding to a camper fire on South Forest Glen Drive Wednesday evening, Nov. 18. He went unresponsive while driving a fire truck to the scene, and his passenger was able to stop the vehicle and radio for help.

He is survived by his wife Anna and their young children Jasper, Isabel, Redding and Andrew.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered flags lowered to half staff Monday in Buitendorp’s honor.

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