Sibling Officers Turn Lessons Learned in High School Woodshop Class Into Business
Brothers Anthony and Peter Rodriguez excelled in their woodshop class at Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School. They crafted miniature off-road trucks and various knick-knacks out of pieces of lumber. When they tried their hand at furniture, they made a nifty lawn chair by interlocking two wood slabs. Their teacher was so impressed with the chair that he entered it into a high school woodworking contest at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition. It took the top prize.
After graduating, the brothers joined the military and then joined the department. The years passed by, and woodworking, their high school passion, had all but been forgotten. But it was rekindled in 2018 by Officer Peter Rodriguez’s son, Joshua Perez, also an officer with the department, who made wooden flags out of his garage and sold them for a little extra cash.
“When we found out, we told him that we could help to refine it with our woodshop experience,” Officer Anthony Rodriguez said. “From there, it just took off.” Orders for flags started coming in from throughout the department. The brothers rented a 610-square-foot space in Hialeah Gardens, bought the necessary industrial-grade equipment, and went to work. They call their business the ‘Veterans Flag Company’ and cater to police officers and people with prior military service, but they also get requests from schools, businesses, and private citizens. As required, the brothers have approval from the department for their outside employment.
The Veterans Flag Company was founded by Sergeant Anthony Rodriguez, his brother, Officer Peter Rodriguez, and Officer Peter Rodriguez’s two Sons, special response team officer Bryan Rodriguez and Mr. Joshua Perez, a deputy for the Orange County Sheriff’s office. Sergeant Anthony Rodriguez is assigned to the Northwest District, and Officer Peter Rodriguez is assigned to the Airport Operations Bureau.
At any given time, the four have at least ten orders to fill; on average, one order takes six to eight weeks to complete. Most orders are for themed flags. They recently completed a drug abuse resistance education (DARE) flag. Another special project, a flag that promotes autism awareness, hangs on a wall at the Angels Reach Academy & Foundation, a private elementary school in Miami Lakes. Officer Peter Rodriguez’s son, Marshall, attends the school.
Some of their work adorns walls at headquarters, district stations, and in offices. Their pieces are on display at the Communications Bureau and the Airport Operations Bureau. The brothers also donate pieces to charity to use in raffles or other forms of fundraising. They make ashtrays, coasters, and other curios and personalized retirement plaques.
Retirement from the department is on the horizon for the brothers. Officer Anthony Rodriguez is already in the deferred retirement option plan, or drop, and Officer Peter Rodriguez will sign up in the coming year. They envision taking their woodworking to the next level when they retire, opening up a shop and working full-time, with custom furniture-making and restoration among their services.
“It’s been fantastic for us to take something that we learned so long ago and use that skill to make art that has sentimental value to so many of our customers,” Officer Peterr Rodriguez said. For more information on the business and to see some of the artwork, visit: https://www.facebook.com/veteransflagco, https://instagram.com/veteransflagco.
Originally published at https://www.miamidade.gov/global/news-item.page?Mduid_news=news1696456257694383