I met Neal Lemery a few years back through a mutual friend. She recommended that I connect with Neal and hear his stories for the book I was writing about Addictions. Neal is a retired judge, he was a district attorney, he is currently living in Tillamook, Oregon. I first met Neal Lemery in a coffee shop in Seaside Oregon. The coffee shop was noisy, and we decided to move into a local library. It was a simple act, and they already knew that he's a kindhearted man. This was the first place where I saw Neal’s kindness. He gave one of his books to the library. We talked for hours and Neal. Time stopped. In total, we talked about 3-4 hours that day. I was listening with amazement. During our conversation Neal told me about his life, people he had seen through the courtroom, a young man he's been mentoring who had a hard time in life and got into trouble because of using drugs or alcohol.
Neal Lemery helped a lot of people get into counseling and treatment throughout his career. Neal told me: “I am supposed to be Mr. Law and Order”. He focused on helping people instead of sending them to jail. Neal is a true collaborator of pulling resources together to help people get their lives back on track. Neal Lemery started groups to help people get the support they need. Neal is a compassionate person, a wonderful husband, father, mentor, and writer. He is an amazing father figure.
Neal Lemery had written many books. Neal’s Books include Building Community, Finding My Muse on Main Street; Homegrown Tomatoes: Essays and Musings From My Garden; and Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains.
The first book that he shared with me is “Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains” The book shares stories about young men and their way through obstacles in life.
In 2015 Emily Green wrote about Neal Lemery in Street Roots in her article:” Why a Retired Judge Mentors Youth in Prison”. Emily talked to Neal about the prison system and how most of the young men in prison do not have a father. “Eight-five percent of youth in prison are fatherless; 90 percent of homeless and runaways are fatherless; 85 percent of kids who have behavioral problems; 71 percent of high school dropouts; and suicides are 63 percent.” The article highlights the issue of mentoring that is needed in the community.
Neal Lemery in his article “A young inmate’s Freedom Day” published in Street Roots in 2015 shares “An excerpt from ‘Travels with Joseph’ by Neal Lemery” Neal shares a story about Joseph on his day when he was released from prison. Neal describes their drive on the first day and plans that they had talked about before. Neal gives Joseph a choice where to go than he told him: “I want to take you to the beach,” I say, quietly. “It’s pretty there, and there’s no fence.”
Neal takes him to the beach. Their travel is in a blog that can be read on Neal’s site.
There is not enough good that can be said about Neal in a short article. I highly recommend his books, his blog, and his website. He is a wonderful person to get to know and I am grateful that I had met Neal and learned about all the wonderful things he is been doing to help others.
Neal told me about a walk he did with a young boy in trouble. He called the “Trust Walk”
The trust walk: You go out of the backyard. You tell the person: I want you to know I care about you, and you are important to me. I want you to blindfold me and lead me around the backyard. I will trust you. Neal did this with his foster son who enjoyed it. Then they switched roles and have positive affirmation and supportive sentences. His son loved it. It took about 20 minutes. - Neal
You can read more about Neal and see his most recent articles and books on these platforms:
Neal’s website https://neallemery.com/
Neal Lemery on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NealCLemery/posts/2908902842705574
Neal Lemery on Medium https://nealclemery.medium.com/
Thank you for reading,
Emily Green in Street Roots (2015) Why a Retired Judge Mentors Youth in Prison. Retrieved from https://www.streetroots.org/news/2015/10/08/why-retired-judge-mentors-youths-prison
Neal Lemery website retrieved from Neal’s website https://neallemery.com/
Gabriella Korosi (2019) Our Society: Addiction and More Uncovered book interview.
Neal Lemery (2015) in Street Roots A young inmate’s Freedom Day
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Dancing Elephants Press December 25. 2021. All Rights Reserved.