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Jigsaws Create Community in Veteran Center

Here you go. Retired Air Force Captain Stan Surloff handed the top puzzle off the stack to a veteran in his water aerobics class at the VA. He offered another one and again until the last was shared. . . . Stan and his wife hoped each box would bring the same enjoyment they had found in piecing them together.

Now all they could do was wait.

“We started this—” said Linda Surloff “—to promote additional activities for these guys; to help them keep their minds active, provide them with challenges they could accomplish and to promote the camaraderie that occurs from sharing their stories in doing the various puzzles.”

Soon completed puzzles were being traded.

When asked about the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles, an Army specialist answered, “The unusually shaped pieces adds another level of challenge. Gets me away from the TV for hours at a time.” While a wife added, “It takes their mind off some of the many health issues these guys are dealing with. ”

Reward came in watching a community grow. Every service branch is represented among the group, and spouses quickly joined in. As a team, they discovered something even more satisfactory than the snap of that final piece.

By donating puzzles that have been completed, they broadened their community to the local VA and VA hospital in Miami. The pleasure, of course, is then in choosing a new design. To them, that most likely means a colorful image ranging from 500 to 750 pieces.

“A key motivator is the level of difficulty. It’s doable. They won’t give up. It’s fun to hear the stories and tips they have when they are working on something,” said Linda. Members also gain from the sharing aspect as swapping makes for budget-friendly entertainment.

Who can you share your puzzles with? Who can you help? Springbok puzzles bring people together or offer times of peace to tired hearts. Each story Springbok has received only validates what we’ve known since the beginning: Love completes the puzzle.®

In that spirit, we have created our “Springbok Stories” page, where anyone with a Springbok story can share their memories with our puzzles. Submit your story.