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Teen gives back to elderly, veterans by mowing 50 yards for free

By Sunshine Kuhia Smith

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    HONOLULU, Hawaii (KITV) — An Alabama man touched down at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Sunday as the final stop of his ’50 State Mowing Tour’ for Autism awareness month.

Rodney Smith, Jr. is the founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service, a nonprofit that encourages children to mow the yards of single mothers, elderly, and veterans.

On his Facebook page, he says the idea started in 2015. “I was coming home from school one day and I came across this elderly man mowing his lawn and he looked like he was struggling. I pulled over and helped him out and that night I decided I was going to mowing yards for free.”

He quickly completed his personal goal of 100 yards in his Huntsville neighborhood. He decided to expand his reach by including children ages 7-17.

“I wanted to show them the importance of giving back to their community with just a lawnmower.”

That’s when he started the 50 Yard Challenge. He put out on his social media accounts challenging kids to mow yards in their own neighborhoods. After they complete the 50 yards, Smith will then join them in one more yard–wherever they are are.

That’s what brought Smith here to Oahu.

Alex, a 13-year-old from Honolulu, signed up for the challenge in October, 2021 and completed his 50th yard in March.

When asked what he liked about the work, Alex says, “It was fun being able to help other people and then being able to go back.”

The most difficult part? “The overgrown yards–one was probably six feet high.”

As a part of completing the 50-yard task, Smith gifts each finisher with a mower, a leaf blower and a weed trimmer.

For more information or to join the challenge, visit

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