GARDEN - Wally Morin of Garden has been chosen as the first "Hometown Hero" for the Garden Peninsula Historical Society. An exhibition of his life and accomplishments will be on display for the 2014 museum season.
A lifelong resident of Garden, Wally "Balls" Morin began exhibiting his talents at the age of 14. To help support his family, he went to work at a fish box factory and became unusually fast at pounding nails. Wally could make 30 boxes an hour or 240 in an eight-hour day.
In 1957 Wally stopped working at the fish box factory. His reputation for quickness led to demonstrations and in a one-minute timed run, Wally drove 61 six-penny nails.
Wally's talent extended to his incredible ability for basketball. "When it came to basketball, I was always unbelievable," he said.
Wally's shooting ability has been seen in many exhibitions. In 1960, he shot 361 out of 365 free throws. In 1965 shooting at Newberry for the March of Dimes, he made 119 out of 123 shots.
A sports writer from Detroit, while visiting Wally in Garden, notice a picture of Magic Johnson in his home. Wally proceeded to show the writer his memorabilia on the Lakers.
A phone call two weeks later informed Wally that Magic Johnson would like to meet him. Wally received three tickets to see the Los Angeles Lakers play the defending champion Detroit Pistons in 1991.
Wally and his friends were also put up at the Marriott Hotel, and after the game, he was able to meet Magic in person.
Information taken from the book, "Our Heritage," published by the Garden Peninsula Historical Society.