By Joe Boyle
Pat O’Donnell said he was proud to be a member of the Oak Lawn Police Department.
“The majority of the community appreciates what we do,” O’Donnell said. “I am proud to work alongside the men and women of this department.”
The Oak Lawn Village Board is in complete agreement. O’Donnell was selected as the Police Club Officer of the Year and was honored during a ceremony held Tuesday night at the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting.
Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio presented O’Donnell with the award, stating that his commitment to duty is exceptional. His wife, parents and other family members were on hand to see the presentation.
Vittorio said that O’Donnell was responsible for several key arrests last summer when some acts of violence occurred in the village. He led a key role in confiscating guns from several offenders.
O’Donnell was cited for his professionalism that helped curb violent behavior in the village that marred other communities after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Members of the Oak Lawn Police Department, along with O’Donnell, were praised for monitoring protests that occurred over the summer.
O’Donnell said he was proud to hear from so many residents on Facebook and other media posts who were thankful for the efforts of the Oak Lawn police force last year.
He thanked his wife, Amanda, and his parents, James and Deborah, for their support.
“I would not be the man I am without their support,” O’Donnell said.
Trustee Terry Vorderer (4th), who is running for mayor in the consolidated election on April 6, said the village police department will receive his full support.
“The police department has been a great institution,” Vorderer said. “I will provide them with the support they have received and even more.”
The board also recognized the civic efforts and life of James “Jim” Buschbach, 89, who died on Feb. 3. Buschbach was the owner of Buschbach Insurance and World Travel Mart since 1958. He and his wife, Joan, were still operating the business.
The Buschbachs were noted for taking part in projects to better Oak Lawn. They volunteered to assist several committees and continued to work to help the village long after most people would have retired.
Buschbach won his first and only elected position as an Oak Lawn Park District Commissioner when he was 85 back in 2017. He was an avid golfer and tennis player. He was often seen playing tennis at the Oak Lawn Park District Racquet Club.
He was the founder and chairman of the development committee for what it is now known as Advocate Children’s Hospital. He was also a member and the past president of the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce. He was the founder and first chairman of the Oak Lawn Parks Foundation.
Buschbach was also active in the creation of the Oak Lawn Children’s Museum.
“Jim and Joan were always the first to volunteer,” said Trustee Jim Phelan (6th). “He will be sorely missed.
Village Clerk Jane Quinlan said that Buschbachs were special and took pride in giving back to the village.
“I always give the Buschbachs credit,” Quinlan said. “They supported everybody.”
Quinlan added that early voting will continue at the Oak Lawn Municipal Center through Monday, April 5. She noted that voting will take place at the lower level.
The board also approved plans for the Fourth of July Parade. The parade was held last year but with modifications due to the pandemic. The parade, as usual, will begin at 10 a.m. along 95th Street.