Marion has a true Champion in a man named Don Hall. Hall is from Gas City and graduated from Mississinewa High School. After working a variety of jobs, he landed a career in production at Fisher Body, now known as the General Motors Marion Metal Center. In 1967, while working there, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served 2 years at Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C. in the Honor Guard tasked with burying soldiers who were killed in the Vietnam War. After his service was complete, Hall returned to Marion and Fisher Body, but at 19 years of employment, he suffered a serious leg injury in a motorcycle accident, and retired early from the plant.
He began to find ways to get involved in the community where he could. Having been active in sports when young, he started volunteering for Little League, PONY League, PAL Club, and Marion High School baseball and basketball programs where he helped student athletes, and student managers grow in their sport…even leading some into state championships.
Hall was also met with an opportunity to volunteer for the City Parks & Recreation Department. He wore many hats to improve the city parks system. He and a handful of individuals initiated the Mississinewa Riverwalk in order to showcase Marion and its natural beauty. Then, he and a small group sparked a plan to make the Riverwalk more enjoyable and more of an attraction. They started what is now known as the “Christmas City Walkway of Lights.” Despite discouragement from local naysayers, Hall and the small committee began creating Christmas light displays by sandblasting and painting new life into old decorations for the first year. The next year, they bought new displays while encouraging others to invest in the concept. The “Walkway of Lights” today features over 2 million lights and is enjoyed by thousands of locals and tourists each holiday season following a ceremonial parade and lighting of the displays which has been taking place since 1992.
April of 2019 marks the ending of Hall’s tenure of 37 years with the Parks & Recreation Board, many years of which he served as President.
Hall also volunteered on many other committees including for the old bicycle race in Marion, and also helped start the 4th of July fireworks celebration in Matter Park in addition to the event that was going on in the center of town.
“I like Matter Park & the overall parks system. I think the staff and the board for the Parks are doing a wonderful job. There is always work to be done in our parks…planting flowers, cleanup…I wish more people would take part in it,” expressed Hall.