LA County Colleges Honor Frontline Workers with Handmade Medals

November 23, 2020 Updated: November 23, 2020

LAKEWOOD, Calif.—Local hospital employees working the frontlines during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic were recognized with handcrafted medals in Lakewood, California, on Nov. 20.

Lakewood Regional Medical Center workers received metallic, 2-inch pins crafted by regional artists and college students. They were created in appreciation of those working at the 172-bed hospital, which has been treating COVID-19 patients in Southern California since the pandemic began.

“We have been gifted today with medals for our staff that have been fighting through the COVID trenches to show gratitude to them,” the center’s chief operating officer Michael Paul Amos told The Epoch Times. “We are so thankful for [Long Beach City College professor Kristin Beeler] and her community for making these and bringing them here to us to be distributed.”

Beeler, Long Beach College’s visual and media arts coordinator, connected students from her campus, alongside California State University Long Beach students and regional artists, to work on The Hand Medal Project. The endeavor is an artistic outreach program for artists to make medals as a tribute to local pandemic frontline workers.

Epoch Times Photo
Healthcare staff at Lakewood Regional Medical Center gather to receive medals made for them by Long Beach College students in Lakewood, Calif., on Nov. 20, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“We are so proud of our healthcare workers and honored to be able to share these,” Beeler told The Epoch Times. “Jewelry is always about personal connections and often acknowledges the importance of specific moments.”

According to the Hand Medal Project website, the design of the medals points back to the historic Argentinian ex-voto hand symbol, originally displayed in churches by worshippers seeking grace, or wishing to give thanks to God.

No two medals are the same. More than 1,000 healthcare workers across numerous Southern California hospitals now wear the unique medals made by Beeler and her students pinned to their uniforms.

The Hand Medal Project continues to network with artists and create medals for healthcare workers in 60 different countries.

The gesture is appreciated, said Amos.

“We look forward to distributing these medals created by the community to staff members who care for the community,” he said. “They have really stepped up and made a difference and continue to do so every day.”