Every year, Rodney Smith Jr. travels to all 50 states with his lawn mower, cutting grass for veterans, the disabled, the elderly, single moms and anyone else in need.
Man mows lawns in all 50 states to let people know he cares
In 2016, Rodney Smith Jr. founded a lawn care nonprofit, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. Raising Men Lawn Care Service helps young people give back to their communities. The kids in the program visit veterans, the disabled, the elderly, single moms and anyone who needs help doing yard work. They mow people’s lawns, shovel show, rake leaves and more—all free of charge.
"In 2016, I saw a man mowing his lawn, struggling. So I got out of my car and helped him," Smith told CBS News. That moment inspired him to create the movement. He says at the time he was completing his bachelor’s degree in computer science. He began mowing lawns for those in need whenever he had free time. "I cut lawns in between classes," he recalled.
Then he decided to start incorporating kids into the mission. He says about 60 kids in Huntsville have joined up, and that was just the beginning.
"It started in January … By April, we went viral, and ever since, it’s continuing to grow," Smith says. He says he decided to expand the movement across the country when a woman from Ohio reached out to him. "She showed her grandson what we were doing in Huntsville and he wanted to join," Smith said.
Smith says now 137 kids across in the U.S. have joined Raising Men Lawn Care Service, as well as one in Canada and seven in Bermuda and the UK to help out in their own communities.
Smith says starting this charity has showed him his true passion in life: to help people
The "50 Yards in 50 States" title can be a bit misleading, since Smith doesn’t just mow one lawn in each state. In the past, he has done up to four a day. But on his last trip, he wanted to do a bit less so he could focus more on talking to people.
"This time I’m stopping in schools and organizations…talking to kids about community service," Smith said.
Smith says he pre-plans where he is going to stop in each state. "Before I started the tour, I showed people which state in each city I was going to, and asked if they could submit lawns of disabled people, single moms, vets, whoever needed their lawn mowed for free," he says. People cans submit suggestions for Smith on his website.
"If I don’t have enough [requests in an area], I go on Facebook or Twitter and say, ‘I’m here, does anyone know a disabled person, single mom, vet, whose lawn needs to be cut?’"
His says his social media pages have been the best tool for the charity. He updates them often with photos from his travels. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
Smith says starting this charity has showed him his true passion in life: to help people. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in computer science, he went back to school to get a master’s in social work. He graduated last year.
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