Face to Face with Debbie Buchanan
Meet the woman behind the scenes at the village of Montgomery.
To some, Debbie Buchanan is the voice and face of the village of Montgomery.
It is Buchanan’s voice that greets callers when they dial the village, it is her status updates that go out on the village’s Facebook page and it is her hard work that helped preserve Settlers Cottage in front of Village Hall.
Buchanan, 56, whose e-mail signature is simply “Debbie Buchanan, Village of Montgomery,” is both a village employee and a resident. She describes her duties as “varied” and of the “secretarial type.”
Going on her eleventh year as a village employee, Buchanan stays busy with tasks like sending out press releases and newsletters, updating the village website, typing up agendas, doing payroll and occasionally handling complaints.
“We don’t get a lot of complaints,” Buchanan admits.
Some of the more common complaints reference snow plows leaving snow embankments at the end of driveways, and the need to widen Orchard Road. She says that there isn’t much the village can do regarding either issue; the snow has to go somewhere, and Orchard Road is Kane County’s road. She adds that the village has been working with the county for 10 years now to improve Orchard Road and work could start this year.
One recent call to the village came from Buchanan who says she disguised her voice to avoid being recognized when she called to report a pothole in front of her Montgomery home.
“The next day they were fixing it. I thought, ‘Wow. I’m so proud to be part of the village of Montgomery,’” she said.
She is also the staff liaison for the village’s historic preservation commission. And she organizes several community events like Concerts in the Park, cemetery walks, holiday tree lighting ceremonies and car shows. It’s hard to imagine what Buchanan doesn’t do for the village.
Buchanan moved to Montgomery in 1996. She and her husband, Dave, both Mormon and previously divorced, met at a church dance. They built their home in Seasons Ridge to accommodate their blended family. She has four boys and he has a son and daughter. Now their children are grown and they welcome eight granddaughters to their home, with one more on the way in April.
Walking through Riverside Cemetery in Montgomery with her 11-year-old granddaughter is one of Buchanan’s favorite things to do in the village. She says that it’s all the history that gets her; she loves reading the headstones.
Buchanan, also an accredited genealogist, says she owes her love of familial history to her grandmother, whom she’d visit in South Dakota. As a child the family stories seemed boring, but then it clicked in her head and she started taking notes.
“One day it dawned on me. All of these people are my ancestors—my family and my history,” said Buchanan, who assists others in tracing their family roots on the second Friday of every month at the Oswego Campus of the Oswego Public Library.
Her love of history serves her well in her work for the historical society; she was instrumental in refurbishing Settlers Cottage, the historic little house in front of village hall that serves as a museum chronicling the history of Montgomery.
As for living and working in Montgomery, Buchanan says, “I love it. We have a lot of parks and open space. It’s not overcrowded and oppressive. It’s well maintained and attractive.” She added that she appreciates the beautiful views, the nice big trees and the river.
Buchanan remembers moving to the area from Des Plaines.
“I saw such a difference. I thought the people were so much friendlier,” she said.