‘The 50-yard Challenge’: Man gives back by mowing veterans’ lawns in all 50 states

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Photo provided to WJW by Rodney Smith, Jr.

HUNSTVILLE, Ala. — An Alabama man is on a quest to mow veterans’ lawns in all 50 states and is now encouraging others to join him in “The 50-yard Challenge.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), 29-year-old Rodney Smith Jr. runs a lawn care company out of Hunstville, Alabama.

He is traveling across the country on his fifth U.S. lawn-mowing tour with hopes of helping one or two veterans in each U.S. state.

“We mow lawns for the elderly, disabled, single moms and veterans,” Smith told the AJC. “For my fifth time across the country, I’m just doing a tour for the veterans to thank them for their service. I’ve come across so many veterans struggling to get their lawns mowed and that should be the least of a veteran’s worries.”

Smith has been mowing lawns free of charge since 2015 when, as a college student, he encountered an older gentleman who had struggled to cut his grass.  At that time Smith pulled over, helped the man and then decided that night he would start mowing lawns for free.

Now, Smith has been to all 48 contiguous states for his “Thank You For Your Service tour,” which began last month.

Smith told the AJC he helps the veterans with their yards and then sits down with them to talk about their time in the armed forces.

His operation is completely funded by donations.  However, he needed additional help to get to his last two destinations on his nationwide — Hawaii and Alaska.

So, Delta Airlines reached out and offered to fly him to both states for free.  He will be mowing in Alaska on Tuesday and Hawaii on Thursday, the AJC reports.

His mission has reportedly spread on social media. Young people across the county have signed on to take part in “The 50-yard Challenge,” where they mow 50 yards free of charge.

Once the kids mow all 50 lawns, Smith and his team fly out to the young person’s location and provide them with free mowers, weed eaters and leaf blowers.

Nearly 400 kids in six countries have volunteered so far.

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