The East Palestine "Puzzle Man" connects a community - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

The East Palestine "Puzzle Man" connects a community

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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio -

He's a 91-year old man who's developed quite the following in East Palestine. 

Day after day, he's putting together puzzles and in his own way making a difference.

To David Butler, it's no big deal. He's always liked putting puzzles together and now, at 91, it's become his favorite hobby.

"I got to do something and this is it," said Butler. "What am I going to do, just go in there, sit down in the chair and watch the squawk box. I just, I get away from it. I get sick of it."

Last November, his daughter Cindy picked him up a couple puzzles for his birthday and found out he was flying through them.

"This one here is normally three days," said Butler, pointing to a 1,000 piece puzzle on the table in front of him. "Some of them I do in two. A lot of them I do in one."

Cindy started posting his progress on Facebook, asking if anyone had any old puzzles he could put together. The response was more than she could have ever expected.

"He developed like this cult following," said Fletcher. "I couldn't believe it. I said, 'Well maybe I'm taking up too much room on the Facebook page. Maybe I ought to not post so many.' They'll say, 'Oh no we need our puzzle fix.' They come home from work to see what new puzzle he's working on."

As the word got out more and more, more and more puzzles started arriving. As you can see he has no shortage to do in the future; some of these coming from as far away as California.

"She sent a box and most every one of them was brand new. Clear from California, here comes this big box full of puzzles," said Fletcher. 

"The hardest ones I've found is 150, putting those little ones together. They're harder than some of these," said Butler. 

"It's fun because I don't sit down all the time and just work it with him, but I'll walk past and I'll say, that one goes there," said Fletcher.

In the last six months, he's put together more than 80 puzzles. People started offering him money to hang them as art, but instead, David and his daughter saw an opportunity; raising money for charity instead. They're hoping to buy first aid kits for East Palestine Schools while donating the rest of the puzzles to people who could use them.

What started out as a simple way for a 91-year old to stay sharp turned into a chance to make a difference.

"I think that's what happens with a lot of people is they go sit down and the world goes by, passes them. I don't want it to pass me," said Butler.

Instead, the Puzzle Man is making his mark, connecting a community one piece at a time.

You can follow his puzzle progress and fundraising on the Facebook page "You know you're from East Palestine Oh when."

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