A Longmont Legacy in a Single Button

May 11 2020

(DENVER, COLO.) Caregivers in direct patient care at Longmont United Hospital are required to wear medical grade PPE, but other members of the hospital team are permitted to wear homemade masks. Some of these masks available to staff have four buttons sewn onto the back of a head covering to help secure the mask and alleviate pressure around the ears. Though many staff members wearing these particular masks certainly appreciate the comfort, few likely know that the buttons sewn on are part of a 160-year legacy in Longmont, Colorado.

The buttons belonged to Jesse Cushman, the granddaughter of AW Cushman, who along with his brother Alfred, built a homestead in 1860 in the Longmont area, twelve years before Longmont officially became a town. Jesse was born in 1908 and lived her entire 80-year life in Longmont. Having grown up during the hardships of the Great Depression and two world wars, she collected buttons to be used for clothes and other projects. Jesse raised her family in Longmont and in-turn taught her granddaughter to sew and left her many of the buttons she’d collected when she passed on. That granddaughter is the mother of Dr. Leslie Armstrong, an emergency physician working at Longmont United Hospital.

With the help of her mom’s sewing talents, Dr. Armstrong has been using her great grandmother’s buttons to help make PPE for LUH staff more comfortable and easier to wear for long periods of time.

“It’s wonderful to see buttons collected over the years from one of the founding pioneer families of Longmont, who likely walked and explored the very ground where the hospital stands today, now gracing the heads and protecting the frontline workers of Longmont United Hospital,” said Dr. Armstrong. “My great grandmother would be very proud to know her buttons are going to such good use in a community that six generations of my family have called home.”

(Dr. Armstrong, can you tell me how many masks have been made so far? I would like to close this out with that information.)

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Joel Malecka

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