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About Neal C. Lemery J.D.
A dedicated community organizer, he has been active in a local art gallery, master gardeners, and a country and rock band. He has served as president of the Oregon YMCAs, the Tillamook Bay Community College Foundation, and the Oregon Justices of the Peace Association. Now retired, he has mentored young men incarcerated in a local prison. Lemery and his wife have been foster parents to several boys.
Building Community: Rural Voices for Hope and Change: An Oregon Perspective (2020) is Neal's newest book:
How are rural American communities working to build a better world? These are the stories of building a stronger rural America. These are the stories of a resurgence in diverse talents and work in progress to improve community services, relationships, and to further collective societal values and organizations. Active community involvement engages everyone, to address social conditions and improve our collective lives. In part, this book gives voice to diverse points of views and experiences, and shows the strengths and talents of rural Oregon communities. Numerous community members from rural Oregon offer their perspectives and describe their work, building better, more vibrant communities that are meeting the difficult challenges of rural America in the Twenty First Century.
His novel, Finding My Muse on Main Street (2018), is a young adult novel celebrating and examining the creative spirit and journey of a young man growing up in a rural Pacific Northwest coastal town, seeking avenues for his creativity and revitalizing a blue collar town. The artists in his life fires up his creative spirit, and he, in turn, motivates others to celebrate their own creativity and build a community that celebrates art.
Lemery wrote his first book, Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains, to share his experiences and to encourage others to pay attention to the plight of a lost generation of young men.
His second book, Homegrown Tomatoes: Essays and Musings From My Garden, continues his exploration in our culture's raising of youth to be productive adults, and how gardening and mentoring go hand in hand.
Lemery is the second place winner of the 2016 John Duncan writing contest, for a story from his first book, Mentoring Boys to Men.
Read Neal's blog at https://neallemery.com/blog/
See his video on mentoring and writing. https://tctv.viebit.com/#38c336a34a34c905494d4b2043464ce4
Watch one of his former mentees talk about changing his life and his work as a mentor and juvenile probation officer now. https://youtu.be/lBZeyuUC7dI
As a judge in rural Tillamook County, Oregon, Neal C. Lemery watched for years as frustrated, hopeless young men cycled through his courtroom. Many of them ended up in Tillamook’s local juvenile prison. Lemery came to understand the reasons behind their failure: poverty, illiteracy, abuse, and absentee fathers.
Despite disapproval in his community, Lemery began visiting the prison and speaking with these young men. Many were hesitant at first, but slowly their stories began to emerge. Lemery was there to provide personal and legal advice—and often simply to listen. Most of them had never known a positive male role model. Eventually Lemery’s patience and tenderness paid off. As walls came down, new portraits emerged of boys who wanted to be decent, caring, contributing men, but didn’t know how.
Mentoring Boys to Men is the story of how the simple gifts of time and a compassionate ear made the difference in the lives of these juvenile offenders. With his story, Lemery hopes to inspire you to reach out to the rejected and vulnerable. After reading this book, your soul will rejoice at the idea of making a unique kind of personal, profound, and positive connection in your newfound young friends’ lives.
Taking the lead, he forges a coalition of artists, movers and shakers to build a community and open an art gallery on Main Street. Along the way, lives are transformed, including his own, on his way to manhood.
In this young adult novel, Jake discovers his own artistic gifts and dreams, and connects with others along Main Street, who are seeking their own artistic dreams and creativity. Together, they build a renewed community, healing old wounds and reinvigorating their lives.