The late Marty Pino was an inspiration to all of the 300 plus people in attendance at the renaming of the Orient Heights Recreational Center in his honor.
For one last time, Pino brought the community of Eastie together like he had so many times throughout his life.
Marty was 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.
Last Friday night, Daphne Griffin, Boston’s Chief of Human Services and Executive Director of Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), joined over 300 friends and family of the late Martin “Marty” Pino in dedicating the BCYF Martin Pino Community Center in East Boston today.
“I did not have the pleasure of meeting Marty but I am certainly well aware of his dedication and commitment to the young people of East Boston and his important work with this community center and its members and staff,” said Chief Griffin. “The Mayor supported this from the beginning and I am pleased that BCYF is able to help celebrate Marty’s legacy.”
A lifelong resident of East Boston who passed away in 2003, Marty was an influence on the lives of countless young people in many ways but especially through the basketball league he helped start exactly 30 years ago at the BCYF Orient Heights Community Center. The movement to rename the center was started by Mario Gallotto who was coached by Marty and now helps run the basketball league. Mayor Menino, who was unable to attend the dedication, quickly approved the renaming.
Marty was born in East Boston in 1952. Throughout his life he participated in many community activities and programs. At the East Boston Social Centers and East Boston Camps, his love of recreation and his desire to help other grew led to a job throughout the year. He eventually became a group leader, then Program Director and eventually Camp Director. His involvement continued until his death in 2003.
Over the years he developed many programs designed to help kids succeed such as a breakfast program at the Maverick Development in which he would pick up kids at risk of dropping out of school, feed them breakfast and then bring them to school.
“Our family is so proud and happy to share in this wonderful tribute to Marty,” said Coleen Pino, Marty’s wife. “Marty truly devoted his heart and soul to the youth of East Boston. It is amazing that so many people still remember him. He touched so many lives in his lifetime and we hope all who enter the gym doors will continue to honor his legacy by inspiring our youth to be the best people they can be.”
As many of the speeches last week reflected, many who were with Marty 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.
“I learned the definition of dying with dignity,” said longtime friend, former Senate President Robert Travaglini. “Visiting Marty over the course of his illness was not a sad experience, it was an uplifting one because up until the day he died he inspired you to do good, to do the right thing. And when he told you he loved you, he meant it.”
With over 30 years of dedicated service to the children of East Boston, Marty spread his talents and wisdom as an East Boston Camp director, coach, mentor, and father figure to many of who ended up working along side him years later.
“I’ve known Marty for most of my life. He was my camp councilor at the East Boston Camps before we worked together at the camps,” said longtime friend and colleague, John Forbes. “He is probably the biggest inspiration in my life. Speaking from my heart, there hasn’t been one single person that has affected me the way Marty did. He was a unique and special person.”
Marty 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, Marty 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, waiting outside until the teens entered the building.
“Marty Pino was one of the most sincere, loving and caring person that I have ever met,” said City Councilor Sal 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. I only hope that all of us who were touch by Marty will continue his legacy by working and helping the youth of our neighborhood.”
In addition to Chief Griffin and, other speakers included Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina who was mentored by Marty as a youth, John Forbes Sr. a lifelong friend and Marty’s son Anthony. A basketball game involving the team Marty coached in the league he started was held after the dedication ceremony.