Piece Work

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David Spisak and Donna Brodigan, two residents of Vista Center in Boardman, have completed more than 60 jigsaw puzzles in seven months, and Vista framed them and started a gallery. The facility then auctioned the puzzles, raising $300 for Relay for Life.

Puzzlers raise money for cause while staying active

By Robert Connelly



Two residents of Vista Center have been completing jigsaw puzzles as a team to raise funds for a cause while staying active.

David Spisak, 70, and Donna Brodigan, 73, began putting together puzzles at Vista Center of Boardman, 810 Boardman-Canfield Road, about seven months ago. In that time, the duo has put together more than 60 puzzles.

Maureen McCarty, activity director of Vista, said it began when she bought three puzzles for them to work on. “After that, staff and family members would bring them in,” she said. Spisak said his family brought him three puzzles at Thanksgiving and eight more at Christmas.

“You can’t work on them for too long or you get all puzzled up,” Spisak said, laughing.

Their finished puzzles have been glued together and displayed in one of the entrances to Vista, and people have been able to bid on them for three weeks. McCarty said the gallery has more than 50 puzzles, and there are 60 bids on them. About $360 have been raised through the bids, with all of that money going toward Austintown’s Relay for Life planned for June 13 to 14. Brodigan will present the American Cancer Society with a check from Vista Center of Boardman, which also raised $670 through a previous fundraiser.

Brodigan fought breast cancer this year, and their team is named Go Team Donna, Go Team Vista of Boardman for Relay for Life. Of the donation, Brodigan said, “That’s helping people.”

Spisak said, “I enjoy giving to charitable organizations and I’ve done that my whole life. ... I’m glad to do anything if the outcome is helping someone.”

The two work on puzzles from 60 pieces to 2,000 pieces and even double-sided puzzles, with a picture on both sides. McCarty said the puzzles have “brought [them] out of their rooms more than before.”

Currently, the two are working on a “Gone with the Wind” puzzle with many flowers in an outside scene. Spisak said the trick with the current one is there is “so much of the same color in different spots.” The duo each takes a side and meet in the middle.

McCarty said Vista raised more than $4,000 last year for an Alzheimer’s Walk that affected one of the residents. While the duo and other residents and employees will continue to build puzzles, another auction won’t be until the next fundraiser.

“We’ll probably do another one in the future ... for the next fundraiser or cause to give them purpose for doing it,” McCarty said.

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