Saturday, December 13, 2014

Estevan Quesada, First Highest Hispanic Ranking Milwaukee Firefighter Passed Away

Quesada dedicated his career in the Milwaukee Fire Department to break through the barriers of language to help educate minorities in fire prevention and safety.

By H. Nelson Goodson
December 13, 2014

Onalaska, WI - On March 28, 2014, Estevan "Steve" Quesada, 61, of Onalaska formerly from Milwaukee passed away surrounded by family members and friends. Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) in recognition of Quesada's legacy and his contribution to the Milwaukee Hispanic community would like to acknowledge his long lasting efforts to break down the language barriers in the Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD) in the late 1970's and early 1980's that led to fire prevention and safety programs in Milwaukee's minority communities.
Quesada, who spoke fluent Spanish became the first highest Hispanic ranking firefighter in the MFD when he was promoted to Lieutenant in March 1983. In 1987, Lt. Quesada began to promote fire prevention and safety in Spanish, Hmong and Vietnamese throughout the city. He was stationed at the MFD Engine 12 located at the 1400 block of S. 9th Street in Milwaukee's Southside. He initiated the use of a coloring book promoting fire safety and prevention in various languages for young children. He spoke at numerous Milwaukee Public Schools and promoted for Latinos to seek opportunities with the MFD. Lt. Quesada's fire safety program included the creation of having Spanish Speaking firefighters to help around-the-clock to translate during emergencies. He pushed for recruitment of minorities in the MFD as well.
Quesada also took advantage of the local media to air and publish fire safety and prevention in various languages.
In 1990, Quesada was the first Hispanic to briefly become the Safety Director for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District (MMSD). He resigned from the MMSD to follow other ventures in Northern Wisconsin.
Most of Quesada's fire and safety programs have continued to this day in the City of Milwaukee. His recruitment of Hispanics and other minorities during his career as a firefighter in the MFD has been instrumental in preventing the loss of life by fire.

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