He was one of East Boston’s most revered mentors and youth advocates and now there’s a campaign in full swing by residents to convince the city to rename the Orient Heights Recreational Center (OHRC) in honor of the late Marty Pino.
Known throughout his life as a doer, a hero to countless Eastie resident, a surrogate father to thousands of children, a mentor to the disadvantaged and an inspiration to us all, friends and family of the local legend with the backing of Eastie’s elected officials are spearheading the effort to get the OHRC named after Pino.
“This is something that I think should be a no brainer for the city to do,” said Pino friend Nick Moulaison. “This is important to me and every other person that has been a part of growing up in East Boston. Marty (Pino) was a great guy and did so much for the youth of East Boston. His legacy lives on through his two sons and he would give the shirt off his back to help anyone he could. Marty was a best friend to many and loved by all.”
Moulaison and others have started an online petition through Change.org and already logged 370 signatures from residents. The online petition can be found at www.change.org/petitions/the-ma-state-senate-rename-orients-heights-community-center-to-the-marty-pino-community-center.
“Marty (Pino) was a friend, a mentor and father figure to me and countless others in East Boston,” said City Councilor Sal LaMattina who worked alongside Pino as a youth worker for the East Boston Social Centers. “To have the gym, where he coached youth and teens for decades, named after him would be a great tribute to a great man.”
Pino was a man whose dedication to the children of Eastie and the community as a whole was only matched by his stubbornness to take anything in return for his generosity and charity.
Sadly, an inoperable brain tumor left Pino confined to his Webster Street residence towards the end of his life.
However, many who were with Pino during his final days did not see a man on the verge of death but a man still able to inspire the hearts and minds of those who rallied around him.
Many would say that they learned the definition of dying with dignity and that visiting Pino over the course of his illness was not a sad experience but an uplifting one because until the day he died he inspired those around him to do good and to do the right thing.
With over 30 years of dedicated service to the children of Eastie, Pino spread his talents and wisdom as an East Boston Camp director, coach, mentor, and father figure to countless youths, many of who ended up working along side him years later.
Pino once organized a “breakfast club” for DYS teenagers to insure that they attended school. With his uncanny ability to make troubled kids believe in themselves, Pino would go to their house every morning, pick them up in a van, feed them breakfast and then would drop them off at East Boston High School and waited outside until the teens entered the building.
“Marty (Pino) was the most sincere, loving and caring person that I have ever met,” said LaMattina. “I am the person that I am today because of the influence that Marty played in my life growing up in East Boston. East Boston has lost a true hero and I don’t think we will ever find another Marty Pino.”
Prior to his death the East Boston Times was able to interview the man who for years shied away from the spotlight.
Pino was sharp as a tack that day and went on for hours about his “kids” in Eastie while smoking his trademark pipe. Sitting across from him at his kitchen table I ask- “What was the one thing that made you dedicate your life to the children and people of Eastie?”
Pino simply replied, “Smiles.”