Montana couple donates special puzzle to WHS

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Courtesy photo Students at Wallace Jr./Sr. High School were gifted this puzzle courtesy of Montana couple Joanie and Bill Merriman. Pictured from the left are Chris Lund, Joanie Merriman, Catie Sheppard, Hannah Garitone, Cassie Heiden, Chole Howell, Kali Davis, Aby Roy, Maggie Howard and Bill Merriman.

WALLACE — Wallace Jr./Sr. High School was recently the recipient of a rather neat gift.

Joanie and Bill Merriman, an elderly couple from St. Regis, Mont., have donated Presidential Puzzles to several schools in the region, and in October they delivered one to WHS.

The 160-piece puzzle depicts the 45 U.S. presidents and when completed, is glued to a board and framed. WHS Principal Chris Lund said their completed puzzle will hang in the school’s government classroom.

Joanie suffers from severe neuropathy, which affects her hands, but she uses the puzzles as a way to keep her hands and fingers mobile.

Bill actually attended Wallace High School, but did not graduate as he left to serve in World War II.

Lund, a former civics and government teacher himself, was pleased to receive the puzzle and happy with the way the students reacted to their unexpected gift.

“It was a nice gesture from a couple who enjoy spending their time traveling around and giving back to the schools and communities,” Lund said. “Our students were excited to receive the puzzle and were very respectful and thankful for the gift. Just a very nice gesture and we appreciated it.”

The couple also donates puzzle pictures of animals to local handicapped children.

Puzzles are a big part of Joanie’s everyday life and despite the neuropathy, Joanie can put a 160-piece puzzle together in about an hour and a 300-piece puzzle in two and a half hours.

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