The Mayor’s Office has announced it has set a date to rename the Orient Heights Recreational Center (OHRC) in honor of the late Marty Pino.
In a statement released this week Menino and Executive Director of Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) Daphne Griffin, said during a ceremony scheduled for Friday, January 18 at 6 p.m. the OHRC will officially be renamed the Martin Pino Community Center.
Pino, a longtime youth advocate and lifelong Eastie resident, died in 2003 following complications from a brain tumor.
Throughout his life, Pino was one of Eastie’s most revered mentors. Known 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 in Eastie, friends and family of the local legend began spearheading an effort to get the OHRC named after Pino last year.
Pino’s connection to the gym dates back to 1975 when he helped start the Saturday morning basketball league that continues today.
With the help of City Councilor Sal LaMattina, a longtime friend of Pino, friends of Pino like Mario Gallotto, Nick Moulaison and John Forbes Sr. spearheaded the movement and were successful this year when LaMattina passed a city ordinance to rename the gym. Menino immediately approved the measure.
“Marty (Pino) was a friend, a mentor and father figure to me and countless others in East Boston,” said 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 will 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.
“Marty and his family deserve this great honor. For many years he was very influential in the lives of many,” said Forbes. “Today his legacy and philosophy live on in the careers of all those that he touched.”
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.
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.”