An Alabama man completed his mission of mowing lawns for veterans in all 50 American states on June 14, but his call of duty doesn’t end there.
Rodney Smith Jr., founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service, told NTD News about his selfless nationwide undertaking to be of service to those that served the country.
Smith is a man on a mission to help those in need and instill the same positive values in the youth that he was taught. He is now planning a world tour to mow lawns on seven continents.
“Seven continents, It was supposed to be this year, but I came up with the idea for the veterans,” said Smith. “So seven continents might be the next big project, going to all seven continents to mow lawns for the elderly, disabled, single moms, and the veterans.”
Mission Completed! To all our veterans & active duty members around the nation, we thank each & everyone of you for your service! pic.twitter.com/Tn4sGQt0bS
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) June 13, 2019
Smith said in a post on twitter back in 2015 he remembers asking God to use him as his vessel.
In the 2015 post, Smith said he was driving and saw an elderly man mowing a lawn who looked to be having a hard time due to the extreme heat. Smith pulled over and helped him finish.
After the man told Smith how much the help meant to him, Smith decided to cut lawns for those that needed support.
This was the post that started it all. Even before this even happened I remember asking God to use me as his vessel. He didn’t give me an answer the day that I asked him, not a month later , not even a year later. It happened a few years later and this would be that day pic.twitter.com/8XZ18MVZQQ
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) June 13, 2019
Smith has issued a challenge to youngsters, called the 50 yard challenge. It’s meant to encourage kids to interact with the community and help by mowing 50 lawns for those in need.
“The challenge is for kids nationwide to do it,” said Smith. “We have just about 400 kids nationwide taking part in it right n0w, 40 have completed it.”
I’m looking for a a kid that would like to take part in the 50 Yard Challenge or already taking part in the challenge that has loss a parent while in service . I would like to give them G.I Moe and his friends after I’m done with the tour pic.twitter.com/hRNml7p1bc
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) June 5, 2019
Participants are welcomed to the family on Smith’s Twitter page where he encourages them along the way and awards them a different color shirt for every ten lawns they complete.
The 50 yard challenge. For kids to mow 50 free lawns in their community free for the elderly, disabled, single parents & veterans. Evy 10 lawns mowed, they get a new color shirt. Once at 50, I drive to their city & bring them brand new lawn mowers, weedeaters, & blowers pic.twitter.com/yCZpq6KTq1
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) May 19, 2019
Smith said the veterans tour was a great experience, being able to meet all the different veterans, especially ones that served in World War II.
“Talking to them I felt like a kid during story time,” said Smith. “Just listening to their stories and picturing in my head.”
Our biggest group to ever complete the 50 Yard Challenge so far . Do you have a group of kids that want to take on the 50 Yard Challenge next ? To sign your kids up for the 50 Yard Challenge visit :https://t.co/JgHLlstRWf pic.twitter.com/scZGSkSWfp
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) March 31, 2019
He said their stories were so detailed, and that Vietnam veterans had a lot to share about what they went through.
“That was a real nasty war, and for them to share their stories with me, wow they went through a lot,” said Smith.
The veterans are featured on Smith’s Twitter and Facebook pages where he introduces them in videos and posts.
I had the honor & privilege of mowing for Mr. Michael in Anchorage,AK. He served 35+ years in the U.S Army & did 4 tours over in Vietnam . It was an honor meeting him and on behalf of all of us, we thank you for your service & sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/4q2OknZCsI
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) June 11, 2019
Smith said when he tours he always drives to 48 states, and then flies to Alaska and Hawaii.
“This time Delta flew me first class to my last two states Alaska and Hawaii, but the difficulties were some states it was hard trying to find veterans,” he said.
For Smith, finding the elderly, disabled, the single moms was never a problem, however finding veterans was sometimes challenging.
“Normally when I go to states I take a picture outside of a “welcome to” state sign, I can normally find lawns of the elderly, disabled, the single moms just like that,” said Smith, “But for veterans for some reason … during the just veterans tour it was pretty hard locating veterans on the fly.”
Hello Maine! I will be mowing lawns for our military veterans in Portland or anywhere south of Portland .If you know of a veteran or a widow of a veteran whose lawn needs to be mowed Please let me know and I’ll take care of it. Its FREE. Text me at 256-508-9440 . pic.twitter.com/bMkFW3ewuu
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) May 23, 2019
Smith said eventually he was able to find veterans, and that most of them knew in advance he would be coming.
“If someone knew the veteran, I told them to reach out to the veteran first and make sure it’s ok,” said Smith. “So I don’t just pop up on them.”
After finishing up in Hawaii, Smith flew home courtesy of Delta Airlines.
“I feel good, you know I wish I was still on the road but it feels good to be able to complete another tour,” said Smith. “This is my fifth tour to all 50 states.
Don’t forget you came nominate someone to receive the Gift Of Hope for June . We raise funds each month and give it to a person or family in need or to help with bills ect. Nominate someone here : https://t.co/3ZeIn2RGnm pic.twitter.com/bPXByv5Nye
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) June 7, 2019
“I think this tour was the most special one because it was for the veterans. So, it feels good to be able to complete it.”
You completed the 50 Yard Challenge , and even inspired your younger brother Johnathan to take part in it recently . You are a hero and we are all proud of you . pic.twitter.com/wMBz9qoGM1
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) April 14, 2019
I graduated with a Masters in Social Work a year ago tomorrow. Time flies. pic.twitter.com/5uRKnyftjA
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) May 2, 2019
Mission complete pic.twitter.com/joCmnoewPO
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) June 15, 2019