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My mission in life is to mow lawns for free.

Rodney Smith Jr. is the pied piper of lawn mowers. For the second summer in a row, the 28-year-old is on a mission to mow lawns in all 50 states — free of charge. “Back in 2016, I was driving home from school and came across an elderly man outside mowing his lawn,” the Huntsville,...
Time: 15:54     Date: 13.06.2018
US Living News: My mission in life is to mow lawns for free. NY Post 24 - US News

For the second summer in a row, the 28-year-old is on a mission to mow lawns in all 50 states — free of charge.

“Back in 2016, I was driving home from school and came across an elderly man outside mowing his lawn,” the Huntsville, Ala. resident tells The Post. “He was struggling, so I pulled over and helped him out.”

That one spontaneous good deed shifted the 28-year-old’s entire life focus. He realized others could use a hand in the yard, so he set a goal to mow lawns for area residents, focusing on the elderly, the disabled, single moms and veterans.

“That’s when I came up with the idea for ‘Raising Men Lawn Care Service,’ ” says Smith. His organization encourages kids to follow his lead and mow lawns for those in need. “It shows them the importance of giving back to the community,” he says.

He got kids interested with what he calls “The 50-Yard Challenge.” Kids post a photo on social media saying they accept the challenge; in return, they get a white “Raising Men Lawn Care” shirt. For every 10th lawn they mow, they receive a different colored shirt, like a karate belt system. When they complete 50, Smith flies to meet them and gifts them a new lawn mower.

So far, 12 kids nationwide have completed the challenge. Currently, there are 137 kids across the United States with a few additional aspiring landscapers in Canada, England and in Smith’s native Bermuda working toward the objective.

Rodney Smith motivates kids to mow lawn with T-shirts.Rodney Smith

If any of his young disciples should need more inspiration, they can look to Smith himself, who is in the process of completing his second “50 Yards in 50 States Challenge.”

in 2017, he drove to 48 and flew to Alaska and Hawaii. It took him 39 days and he averaged about four lawns a day.

This year, he’s taking more time to smell the grass, staying for a night in each state and talking to people in the community about his organization.

When Smith arrives in a state, he tweets his location and asks followers to nominate deserving folks who need a lawn trim. “One elderly lady said it means so much to her because she was afraid that if she didn’t cut her lawn, she’d be fined by her town,” says Smith who relies on donations and receives considerable support from Briggs & Stratton. “There are people on fixed incomes who really can’t afford that. [Now,] they can use their money for what they really need.”

Smith, who hopes to grow Raising Men Lawn Care into a national program, “like Big Brothers and Big Sisters,” says people are initially confused by his mission — especially when they learn that he wants nothing in return.

But “it makes me feel good,” says Smith. “When I was younger, I never liked to mow lawns. But God took something I disliked and turned [it] into something I love to do.

“I believe this is my purpose,” he adds.

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