50 States, 2 Months, 1 Well-Used Lawn Mower

Rodney Smith Jr. wraps US tour helping those in need
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2018 12:13 PM CDT
50 States, 2 Months, 1 Well-Used Lawn Mower
Rodney Smith Jr., founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service, speaks with a homeowner in this 2016 photo.   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

Rodney Smith Jr. has visited all 50 US states twice, but you'll have to forgive him if he doesn't recall any as particularly distinctive. There was little time for sightseeing as Smith spent much of his time mowing lawns voluntarily. The 29-year-old founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service in Huntsville, Ala., which encourages kids to get involved in community service, set out on his second round-the-country trip in May, pledging to mow two to three lawns for strangers in need in each state, provided they were within a 30-mile radius of a major city. Starting in Milwaukee, Wis., he drove around the 48 continuous states, assisting a Korean War veteran in Minneapolis, Minn., and an amputee in Casper, Wy. He then flew to Alaska and on to Hawaii. It was there, after mowing the lawn of a stage 4 cancer patient, that he completed his mission Tuesday, per the BBC.

Smith celebrated by announcing that more than 200 kids across the US have accepted his call to mow 50 lawns for community members free of charge. Children who complete the 50 Yard Challenge will receive a free mower, according to Smith's website. Smith, however, is setting higher goals. For 2019, he plans to mow seven lawns in seven continents, though he admits he might have to settle for shoveling snow in Antarctica. "The free lawn care service we … provide to the elderly, disabled, single moms and veterans isn't just a service needed here in America, it is also needed worldwide," he writes on Facebook, per WAPT. "I'm just doing what God wants me to do, and I encourage people to get out there and do the same," Smith adds, per the Wichita Eagle. "And it doesn't have to be with a lawn mower. There's many ways to make a difference." (More uplifting news stories.)

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