Located in the gently rolling countryside just outside of this Memphis satellite city is what appears to be the beautiful home of a successful southern country gentleman. It even looks like the Tennessee version of a Kentucky thoroughbred horse farm.
The wood rail fences are dark chocolate brown, the stately home is brick, the outbuildings are a neatly painted dark red – and the residential structures along the paved circular drive behind the main house – what are they? They are residential group homes, each housing up to eight boys and a set of houseparents.
Welcome to the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home Double “B” Boys’ Ranch in Millington. It was the property of a prominent couple who contributed their estate for the boys’ ranch in the late 1980s. And those residential structures? They house 24 boys ages 11 through 18 in family settings of eight boys and resident house parents to each cottage.
A centerpiece of the facility is the recently-completed pavilion, a custom-designed Ceco Building Systems framed structure.
The ranch’s director, the Rev. Troy Styers, also lives on the property with his wife and seven-year-old daughter, as does ranch manager Jeff Epps and his family. Styers explained that this is the only working ranch in the TBCH system, which has homes in Bartlett, a suburb of Memphis, as well as Brentwood, Chattanooga, Oakdale and Kingsport.
The ranch has horses, raises cattle and bales hay, with the proceeds from the sale of the cattle and hay going to help defray the cost of the ranch’s mission: the boys. Most are placed there by parents or other relatives, Styers noted, and only a few from the court. “These boys come here because of what the parents are not doing – or what the boys are not doing – or a combination of both,” he added.
“We’re all about choices,’ he said. “They must understand that. We do a lot of parenting. And we teach – not punish. Anger is one of the main issues we focus on.”
“Everything we do is about developing boys,” Styers said. “We take no government money; rather, we exist because of the strong financial and volunteer support of both churches and individuals.”
The campus, which is virtually impossible to distinguish from neighboring farms, has a welding barn, a small engine shop and a wood shop. The facility also hosts programs for showing cattle and horses.
Each child has chores based on his age and ability. Levels are earned for credit at the commissary, for promotion to areas of higher responsibility and independence. The ranch is a teaching operation and not a detention center, so the boys have the opportunity to visit home on a regular basis.
A centerpiece of the facility is the recently-completed pavilion; a custom-designed Ceco Building Systems framed structure used for everything from dinners for up to 250 supporters to basketball on a rainy day. Constructed by Rose Construction of nearby Covington, Tenn., the pavilion has roll-down canvas curtain walls that anchor at the bottom to use in inclement weather such as wind, rain or cold.
“This is a special place, unique and outstanding,” says Paul Rose. “While a school may work with children up to 12 hours a day, here they are on duty 24-hours-a-day ministering to the needs of the boys and teaching them responsibility, respect for others and tolerance. Plus, they gain valuable skills and build character. What boy would not want to work with horses and cattle, power equipment and welding?”
Rose Construction has over 150 employees in four offices and provides services in civil/utility, concrete, steel erection and interior finish-out. The company has been associated with Ceco Building Systems since 1973.