Man Tours All 50 States Mowing Lawns for US Veterans, and It’s His 5th Time

June 22, 2019 Updated: June 28, 2019

When Alabama man Rodney Smith Jr. first announced his goal to travel the country mowing people’s lawns, it was a small and simple project.

Now, he’s just wrapped up his fifth time of traveling to all 50 states with his lawn mower—and he’s become a true example of how to spread the spirit of giving around the United States.

Smith’s first trip across the country with his mower was done with the hope of providing free lawn services for people in need in at least one community in every state, aiming to provide some relief for people who need it and raise awareness for the little ways that young men and women in communities can make a difference. His first trip was so successful that he did it three more times, making the first trio of rounds to mow lawns for single mothers, elderly homeowners, and disabled households.

After those first three times, he made a fourth trip dressed as Santa Claus, spreading some Christmas cheer and cutting some grass while sporting a Jolly Saint Nick getup. For his fifth time, though, he decided it was time to provide his services for those who have defended the country throughout their lives—and made yet another circuit for veterans.

Smith is an immigrant from Bermuda, but he now lives in Huntsville, Alabama. He started his foundation, called Raising Men Lawn Care, in 2015 after noticing an elderly man out mowing his lawn by himself in the sun.

He was a computer science student at the time but realized that something as simple as lawn maintenance could be a struggle for some. For him, it was a moment of inspiration; he decided to stop and help out, and realized that mowing lawns was a simple way to lend a hand in his community.

“It looked like he was struggling so I pulled over and helped him out. That night, I decided to mow free lawns for the elderly, single moms, disabled, and veterans,” Smith said.

His initial goal wasn’t to travel the nation; when he first decided to bring a mower around, he had only set a goal of 40 lawns in his community.

It didn’t take long for him to find enough homes that were happy to accept his services, though, so he bumped his goal up to 100 homes. From there, he kept adding on to his goal, eventually deciding to start a foundation that would help young men and women in the community get involved with his project and find something productive to do.

“We still mow free lawns for the elderly, disabled, single moms and veterans. We also kids [sic] ages 7-17 to show them the importance of giving back to their community with a lawnmower,” he explained.

His foundation took off, inspiring his trips across the nation to raise awareness for what he does. And he’s been so successful that a whopping 83,400 people follow him on Twitter, while Delta Airlines even footed the bill to fly him to Alaska and Hawaii in order to help him meet his goal on this most recent trek across the nation.

“It was a beautiful experience, just to meet all the different veterans in different branches. Some were in WWII, some were in Vietnam, some went to Afghanistan. Just hearing their stories was amazing,” Smith stated. “I believe that if one serves their country, we should put them up here, high. I come across so many veterans who struggle to get their lawns mowed and that should be the least of their worries.”

His goal is to see children in every community pick up the slack after he passes through, so he’s started a 50-lawn challenge; each child who accepts the challenge is given a 50-lawn goal to meet and a shirt to wear to spread the word.

This most recent nationwide trek may have been especially impactful, but that doesn’t mean it will be his last. Now that he’s found his mission, Smith hopes to continue traveling the country to mow lawns for years to come—and hopefully, the children who see him passing over the grass in lawns across their communities will follow in his footsteps when he heads on to the next state.

Recommended