Champion of the Month

Don Hall Share

Apr 4, 2019  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

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.

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