A former chief of police and public safety director of North Myrtle Beach died this week.
Merlin Bellamy was 85 years old.
He became police chief of Ocean Drive Beach in 1949, one of the 5 towns that merged in 1968 to become the city of North Myrtle Beach.
Bellamy was the city’s first police chief and served until 1977. A year later, he served as director of public safety for 2 years and retired in 1990.
He made news after Hurricane Hazel, one of the most destructive storms ever to affect the Grand Strand, hit the area in 1954.
During those days, there were no Weather Channel and other media outlets tracking the storm’s every move. Hazel surprised the area after killing hundreds in Haiti.
In the aftermath of the storm, Bellamy developed the first hurricane preparedness plan for Ocean Drive Beach, which was eventually adopted by other towns along the Grand Strand, according to a release from the city.
He continued to improve the area’s disaster planning and crisis management when he worked for North Myrtle Beach.
A public viewing will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 at Lee Funeral Home.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23 at LordsWay Baptist Church. The North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Honor Guard and police officers will participate in the service.