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Ranchers’ Burgers Connect Police, Community



Jeremy Turnquist grilling on a hot evening in the park.

Rancher’s Legacy’s Jeremy Turnquist wasn’t at Basketball in the Park to show off his skills in the slam dunk contest. When it comes to hoops, he said, “I think we’re better at dunking burgers into ketchup.”

His moves, however, were on full display at the grill where he braved the smoke and heat to cook a seemingly endless number of hamburgers and hot dogs for the locals who came out to Ainsworth Park the second Thursday in July for a community outreach event co-sponsored by Perspectives family center and the St. Louis Park Police Department. 

When Rancher’s got involved about three years ago, the intent was to volunteer for one week. But when Perspectives was struggling to find volunteers for the other 11 weeks, Rancher’s stepped up, until by year three they were providing not only staff, but all the food, from meat to chips to root beer floats. Reserve officers from the police department also help out on the grill. 

“It’s all about the kids,” said Arlyn Lomen, CEO of the Vadnais Heights meat processing company. “We want it done right. Kids need to feel important, so much of their lives haven’t made them feel that way.”

On an average night in the summer, the program feeds about 150, but “my guess is we’ll feed 250 tonight,” Turnquist said, because of the hoops contest. 

Turnquist missed the last couple of weeks due to his work travel schedule, but he’s looking into rebooking some appointments so he can make more Thursday nights. “I got hooked the first year,” he said. All it took was looking down and seeing a young child looking back at him, holding a big burger. 

Officer Chaunté Ford has been running
the outreach program for the past six years,
as a way to bond with the community they’re sworn to protect.

Perspectives’ Linda Domholt and Arlyn Lomen of Ranchers. 

Gopher basketball players impressed the next generation of hoop stars with their skills.

 

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