Rodney Smith Jr., 29, is showing American veterans how much he cares about them by keeping their lawns nice and manicured.
The Huntsville, Alabama, native has traveled to all 50 states, mowing veterans’ yards for free. He made his final stop in Hawai’i on June 13.
According to ABC News, Smith Jr. Hopes his mission will “encourage others to get others to get out there and help out, especially the veterans.”
Smith Jr. Began his 50-state tour in 2015, when he was in college.
“I remember asking God to use me as his vessel,” he said.
Follow us on Instagram
Get deals on patriotic items from The Veterans Site store each week!
He was driving back home when he saw something that changed his life. An elderly man was having trouble mowing his lawn.
“It looked like he was struggling, so I pulled over and helped him,” Smith Jr. Told ABC. “That’s when I got my goal to mow lawns for free for the elderly, single moms and veterans.”
He’s also recruited some help. About 400 young men and women, nationwide, are taking part in the “50 Lawn Challenge.”
“We are trying to encourage boys and girls to get out there and make a difference, one lawn at a time,” Smith Jr. said.
The aim of the challenge is to provide assistance to anyone who might be struggling to keep up with yardwork. It’s also become a popular topic on social media. The images Smith Jr. shared from each state visited have quickly gone viral.
Donations from people around the country have covered Smith Jr.’s lodging and fuel. He drove his own vehicle while covering the contiguous 48 states, and Delta Airlines covered flights to Alaska and Hawaii, the last stops on the list.
In all, Smith Jr. estimates he’s mowed more than 2,500 lawns since 2015.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.