NewsHispanic Heritage


Firefighter designs Milwaukee Fire Dept. t-shirt honoring Hispanic culture

Posted at 6:17 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 21:25:09-04

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Fire Department is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a new t-shirt.

Carlos Velazquez-Sanchez, a veteran firefighter, has donned MFD uniforms and gear for more than a decade.

This month, he’s wearing something new: a shirt he designed himself after seeing Chief Aaron Lipski’s display of other culturally-themed department tees.

“I said that’s a very nice display, and his response was, ‘Would you like to make one for Hispanic Heritage Month?' And coming from Chief Lipski, I couldn’t say no. I was very honored,” Velazquez-Sanchez said.

On the shirt, the words: 'Bomberos,' or firefighters. 'Familia, cultura, herencia,' or family, culture and heritage.

The words, alongside flags from Spanish-speaking countries circling the department's logo, create a design inspired by bringing people together.

“I wanted to make something that people would feel proud of, and it was going to be a way to unite Milwaukee,” Velazquez-Sanchez said.

All proceeds go toward two nonprofits, Ignite the Spirit, to aid first responders, and the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee.

“The funds are going to two great organizations; I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Velazquez-Sanchez said.

City data shows Hispanics make up about 10 percent of the Milwaukee Fire Department. Meanwhile, census data shows Hispanics make up a greater number, about 19 percent, of Milwaukee's overall population.

Velazquez-Sanchez said he hopes kids seeing and wearing symbols of their heritage beside the department’s logo could even plant a seed for the diverse next generation of Milwaukee's heroes.

“Education, if we want to increase it. We just have to continue doing things like this,” he said.

You can order a shirt for yourself here.

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