He was one of East Boston’s most revered mentors and youth advocates and now the gym he spent years coaching neighborhood kids during the basketball season will be named in his honor.
Last week, the Boston City Council passed Councilor Sal LaMattina’s resolution to rename the Orient Heights Gym the Marty Pino Recreational Center.
“Marty (Pino) was one of those rare individuals that had the uncanny ability to connect with kids,” said LaMattina who worked alongside Pino as a youth worker for the East Boston Social Centers. “I have so many stories and examples of how Marty helped kids here in the neighborhood get on the right track and grow up to be great adults.”
Known throughout his life as a doer, a hero to countless Eastie residents, 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 spearheaded the effort to get the gym named after Pino earlier this year.
“This is something was a no brainer for the city,” 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, Mario Gallotto and others began an online petition through Change.org and logged hundreds of signatures from residents to get the gym renamed.
“To have the gym, where he coached youth and teens for decades, named after him would is a great tribute to a great man,” added LaMattina.
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 well 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.
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.”
“The Pino family deserves this great honor. Marty was very influential in the lives of countless young people in our community for many years,” said longtime friend John Forbes Sr. “Through his example they learned about dignity, respect, integrity, and the value of hard work. He believed that everyone was special and worked hard to bring out the best in all. Today his legacy and philosophy live on in the lives of all those that he touched.”