The owner and staff of General Builders Supply stand with a Madera police officer upon receiving T-shirts supporting law enforcement that will be sold for $10 to raise funds for police activities. (John RIeping)
A new black T-shirt being sold displays a U.S. flag in white with one of its stripe in blue. The design is not a symbol of protest or mockery, but rather of support for local police.
“We kind of went for a distressed look ‘cause together we feel our country’s a little bit in distress, but no matter what our flag is still there and our country is still going to stand strong no matter what,” said Nic Landeros, assistant manager at Andy’s Sports & Design. “And then the blue line signifies our local law enforcement that we want to stand behind them as well.”
“With everything going on across the country, there’s almost a divide between law enforcement and citizens,” said the shop’s manager Emmanuel Gomez. “As somebody who lives here in Madera, Nic and I both understand how you’ve got to work together or else it doesn’t work ... Because if you’re not supporting the local authorities you’re really just making things more difficult overall for your community.”
A discussion between Landeros and Gomez about recent killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge prompted the creation of the T-shirts, which are being sold at the shop — 225 S. Pine St., Ste. 104 — and elsewhere for $10.
“We’ll be selling them here as well,” said Dennis Smith, owner of General Builders Supply, 1808 Howard Road, “and there are other folks in the community that will have them” in the future.
Madera police officers “do a lot for Madera,” Gomez said. “Whether it’s a domestic dispute, somebody’s shooting or whatever, they’re there. A lot of situations where a lot of us are running out of they’re running into. And it’s because of that we want to show our support to them, and we know that they have a lot of programs that they want to initiate.”
Aside from enforcing laws, Madera police read to children in local schools and try to reach out in other ways, Gomez pointed out. So the T-shirt project is being done by Gomez and Landers on their own time and dollar so all the proceeds of sales can benefit Madera police activities.
“I know that at my daughter’s preschool they take out a patrol car and they show them how it works,” he said. “We support that and we like that, that interaction between a citizen and a cop. Because what ends up happening is it’s no longer a cop. It’s Joe. It’s a person. He has a family. He has a personality. So you’re more inclined to interact with them in a more positive way, and that’s all we wanted to do.”
But the T-shirt isn’t merely a fundraiser. It is also meant to be a public expression of support for what law enforcement of all branches do for Madera everyday, he said. “By wearing a shirt like this, you almost put them up a little bit higher than what a lot of people are in the nation claiming right now – a little bit lower. They’re humans and they’re going to make mistakes as well. But for the most part they’re putting their lives on the line and sacrificing time, possibly even further years with their family to defend all of us.”
Gomez and Landeros welcome contact from any other business interested in selling the T-shirts.
“We always try to shop local and they (General Builders Supply) have the same idea as us: small businesses want to stick together,” Landeros said. “It’s kind of the idea too with (the) Madera T-shirt is we want to stick together with Madera as a community. So that’s the reason why we reached out to them. We also want to reach out to other small businesses as well and anybody. We just want to come together as a community all for the same idea of sticking together.”
T-shirts can be purchased from size small to XXXX, and custom sizes can be ordered. For information, visit or call Andy’s Sports & Design at 674-3661.