For Ricky Turner, The Cedar Bucket Cafeteria and Catering is more than just a business - it’s an avenue for building a stronger community.
Since its inception five years ago, The Cedar Bucket has partnered with local schools, organizations and students in fundraising, scholarship support and awareness events.
Born and raised in Murfreesboro, Turner initially opened up shop in Bedford County before moving his business to Middle Tennessee Boulevard. One year ago today, he relocated the cafeteria-style meat-and-three to the corner of Northfield Boulevard and Lascassas Pike.
Even the name Cedar Bucket has deep-rooted ties to the community. Turner said it refers to the highly anticipated annual football game between long-time rivals Bedford County Training (School) and Holloway High School that dates back to a time when the schools were segregated. Being that he from Murfreesboro and launching his restaurant in Bedford County, Turner connected the two communities by referencing The Cedar Bucket.
Heading into his second year at the new location, Turner said he wants more partnerships and collaborations with local organizations and individuals.
“We’re in business to do business, but we’re doing more than serving food,” he said. “We’re part of this community - we give back. We help those who help us, and I wish we could get more help helping people.”
For years, Turner has spearheaded events, but now he’s asking community leaders to stand up - brainstorming is the easy part, but action is necessary hard work.
“It can be a lot for one person, but if several people contribute a little bit, it can all come together,” he explained. “Like the saying goes, ‘It takes a village to do this.’ We really don’t put enough emphasis on giving back, especially with scholarships. We have to keep this thing going by giving back.”
With good will in mind, The Cedar Bucket is kicking off its second year at 2053 Lascassas Pike with a Father’s Day Breakfast and Discussion at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 16.
“Men and families will gather to eat, laugh and learn from each other, and begin to build a stronger community of godly men, bosses, employees, students, teachers, fathers, husbands, coaches and leaders,” an event flyer describes.
A collaboration with Rock Rockman, a local, certified life coach, the event will emphasize the importance of fatherhood in today’s society.
“Family structure has always been important to me, and having grown up without family structure had an effect on me growing up,” Turner said. “I was bitter for a long time. Without a man in the house, you don’t know how to be a man and how to treat your wife.”
Fathers are a necessary component of the family equation.
“This is true not just for a son, but for a daughter, as well,” Turner said. “It does have an impact; it does make a difference.”
He continued, “These are things that need to be talked about - they won’t fix themselves. As the preacher said (Sunday), ‘We’re at war.’ … We need to fight back. Sometimes we get so relaxed that we don’t fight back. It starts with one person, then two, then before you know it … This is a topic that no one wants to talk about, but it isn’t going away.”
Turner pointed out that the gathering of fathers and families “is not a black thing, it’s not a white thing or a Christian thing -- this is a human thing. Oftentimes we want to categorize everything, but this issue (of fathers in the family) is a human problem.”
By bringing fathers from different spectrums together, event organizers aim to bring about discussion, advice and problem solving.
“In so many communities, there are young men and there are young women without a father being present in the home,” Rockman explained. “This is a great opportunity for us to talk about how to bring a father into the home and have a presence in children’s lives.”
The entrepreneur has lined up several speakers, including his own father-in-law, along with Bishop Joe Cross and Kendrick Cross. Additionally, Rockman is still waiting for confirmation from Tennessee Titan Chris Sanders.
“We’d really like for the whole family to come out,” Rockman encouraged. “Speakers will give a few words about what fatherhood means to them, but it will also generate discussion on how we can build a stronger community overall.”
He said folks have gotten away from the days when neighbors would go outside and mingle with the neighborhood. Being a part of the community is just as important as being part of the family.
“Now with media and technology and the television world, people are in the home on their iPads and iPhones and watching their TVs with 500 channels. We’re not outside with our community and our neighbors,” Rockman continued.
“Let’s discuss how we as fathers can really come together in this community and grow and build more unity in the community.”