From riches to rags, to making rent

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In Breakfast at Sally’s, Bremerton man shares his story.

by Stacy Howard –

Richard leMieux and Major James Baker

Richard LeMieux now lives in a one-bedroom Bremerton, Wash., apartment, makes rent payments with his Social Security check and awaits October 2008, when his first book, Breakfast at Sally’s, will be nationally published. It is his heart wrenching yet uplifting story of his personal battle with homelessness.

In 2002, LeMieux was a successful businessman with a beachfront home, a $250,000 salary, boats and a classic convertible. By the end of that year he lost the volleyball court, the expensive wardrobe, the house and his family. For months, he lived in a van, begging on the streets, with his dog, Willow, by his side.

During his time on the streets, Richard wrote in a journal-style format. He wrote about the people he met, the hardships he and others endured and ultimately the people who helped save him: The Salvation Army staff. Richard says because of Major James Baker, he restored his faith and reclaimed his independence. A man who once nearly committed suicide from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, he is now filled with optimism, hope and strength.

Breakfast At Sally’s is currently available for pre-sale on It’s titled after the nickname given by Bremerton’s homeless community to The Salvation Army’s food hall. Richard envisions his book being in the hands of both the rich and the poor. His wish is to see a large-scale movement to help the people he once lived among on the streets. His ideal vision includes sitting on Oprah’s couch one day, sharing his story with the nation.

According to Salvation Army Captain Howard Bennett, that could be a real possibility. “Once I started this book, I could not put it down,” he said. “Richard’s book has a message that needs to be told.”

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