Rick Lemyre and Brentwood have a long history together. Starting as a newspaperman, Lemyre helped create the Brentwood we have grown to know and love. Whether you remember him as an editor with the Brentwood Press or know him as a smiling face at events throughout Brentwood, everyone who has had the honor work with Rick knows that because of his gift of storytelling and sharing, he has helped write the history of Brentwood. At Local Backroads, we were lucky to share several hours with Rick as he gave us a final tour of John Marsh Stone House, located at the Marsh Creek State Park in Brentwood, CA, where we learned his secret to success is “just showing up.”
Rick Lemyre Has A Deep-Rooted Commitment to Storytelling
Rick began his career in Brentwood as a “newspaperman” – working for regional newspapers. However, the longer he lived in Brentwood, he realized what the small town was missing was a community newspaper, dedicated to telling the success stories of the community. Rick explained, “everyone wants a reason to celebrate – and what better way than seeing someone’s name in print!” And this was the beginning of the Brentwood News. The small newspaper grew in circulation, eventually branching off to have separate publications for Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, and Antioch.
Rick loved the editorial side of journalism. He found joy in meeting people, being invited to all types of local events, and being witness to the special days celebrated throughout the town. Rick would take pictures at simple elementary school plays to larger-community celebrations, such as Corn Fest. He knew what he recorded would bring happiness to the community at large, and the individuals who would appear in the paper. Rick stated, “What better job is there than being part of it all?”
Rick Lemyre Moves Beyond the Newspaper Into Community Service
Rick decided to move away from the Brentwood News once he saw there were capable, community-driven people willing to take over both the editorial and sales side of the organization. That is when he turned his attention to other ways to share the success stories in Brentwood. When asked how he ended up serving Brentwood through so many organizations, he explained, “when you just keep showing up, you meet a lot of people and a lot of doors open. I was just lucky that way.” However, as you explore the history of Brentwood and seek the thread that ties the past, present, and future of Brentwood, you will often see Rick.
Outside of being the co-owner and co-founder of the Brentwood Press, Rick Lemyre also serves as the Executive Director of the John Marsh Historic Trust, grant writer, and mentor at One Day at A Time (ODAT), has served as the Program Director at Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed, a volunteer at El Campanil Preservation Foundation and East Contra Costa Historical Society, the Marketing Director at Harvest Time as well as working as an editor at many local publications, including the Contra Costa Times and Delta Living Magazine.
Unintentional Influence in A Growing Town
As we sat down with Rick in front of the aging Stone House, it became abundantly clear that Rick would “show up” because he wanted to. His career allowed him to attend events, memorialize life-changing days, and learn what was at the heart of the community. His career invited him to discover who the people of Brentwood were – and see the work people did to make the community of Brentwood one that is incredibly desirable to live in.
At one point in our conversation, Rick mentioned, “Brentwood used to be a place to attracted people who wanted to live in a place like Brentwood.” He explained the simple lifestyle, small town-community, and Mayberry-Esque personality of the town that drove people to come this far east. He said, “people came here because the way we lived is what they wanted.” Rick then carried, saying that as he showed up to record, write, report, or volunteer – he could see the true character of Brentwood. He explained it was easy to show up and be a part of something so warm, welcoming, and hospitable.
However, by showing up and sharing what he experienced, the people he met, the good news and exciting events around town, Rick was able to showcase the community. His innate ability to share a story, highlight the humor and solidify relationships through his writing meant we all could experience the Brentwood that Rick has lived in. This means laughter, joy, community, growth, commitment, family, help, growth, and people coming together to make Brentwood even better than before. Although Rick sees himself as “just showing up” – his ability to show up has unintentionally influenced the story of Brentwood and the Brentwood communities he serves through volunteering, speaking, writing, and mentoring. ‘
Rick Leymere, A Man Ahead of His Times
Today, one common theme throughout social media is using your voice to bring people together. And, historically, storytelling has been a powerful tool for bringing people today. However, this is precisely what Rick has been doing for over 30 years in Brentwood. From taking pictures, reporting local events, and just “showing -up,” Rick has brought people together.
Rick will soon be embarking upon a well-deserved retirement. He looks forward to spending time with his family and writing the stories he has yet to tell. For those of us still hanging out around these local backroads, the shoes he is leaving behind will be large ones to fill. However, Rick says, “just keep showing up,” and the stories that make Brentwood the beautiful community it is, will continue to be told.