Red Lerille hates emails. He also doesn't make many public statements, regardless of his immense local celebrity.

So when the owner of Red's makes a statement this heartfelt and prolific on the current state of our world (especially our local economy and overall quality of life) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I think we all owe him a listen.

I will take my own advice and shut up while I invite you to read his following message.

Dear Members,
It pains me to have to email this you. I am 84 years old and hate emails. First of all, every time we send out an email, we lose hundreds of members. My goal is not to offend anyone or lose a single one of you. You are all important to me.

Face masks, like emails, are not in my comfort zone and apparently are not in most of your comfort zones either. I totally understand your reluctance to wear one because I feel the same. That being said. . . . I feel that we MUST comply and do our part.

Bottom line is. . . .I do NOT want to go out of business. I have spent the last 57 years of my life, blood, sweat and tears fulfilling my life dream to provide Lafayette, my community and my members (you) with the best health club possible. I take tremendous pride in being a large part of keeping YOU healthy.

And yet, now I stand here embracing the fear of losing it all. That fear is paralyzing! Yet, this is not the 1st time, nor will it be the last time, that we, as Americans have prevailed through such life-changing events.

Looking back to my younger years, there were no seat belts in cars or airplanes. No one even thought about wearing a helmet to ride a motorcycle. And yes, the government had to pass laws to require us to wear these things to protect us. We survived and undoubtedly more people have probably survived because of the law. A small price to pay!

When I was in the Navy years ago, we docked in Hong Kong and when we got off the submarine we were amazed to see all of the people wearing masks. Well, they are still wearing mask today, and undoubtedly for a reason. . . .they work.

Also in my younger years, when I was stationed in California, everyone wanted to go to Muscle Beach. It was where all the health clubs started. Everyone worked out and it was quite a place to see. Now, none of the health clubs are open and most have actually gone out of business. That is frightening to me.

Equally frightening is watching a close family friend struggle for his life in ICU with complications of COVID. He is young and in outstanding physical shape, yet not immune from the virus. Many of you know someone who has struggled and/or died from COVID. The virus is REAL!

I feel that I have a moral obligation to do whatever it takes to protect my employees, some of who have been with me almost 50 years, my members and my (our) health club. If we do not comply with “mask wearing” the state WILL SHUT US DOWN! I am asking you to do your part (wear a mask) so that we can stay in business.

I watched the marines at Camp Pendleton today on TV. They were training outside on the beach in the hot sun in full uniform. . . .wearing their mask. I feel that if they can make this sacrifice, then so can we. They remind me that FREEDOM, isn’t and has never been free, but worth sacrificing for.

I still feel that everyone should lift weights and stay fit, healthy and safe.

With sincere thanks for letting me share my feelings,
Thanks,
Red