NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - A man on a mission to mow lawns -- free of charge -- in all 50 states stopped in Nashville on Wednesday.
Rodney Smith Jr. runs the organization “Raising Men Lawn Care Service,” which provides free lawn care for the elderly, disabled, single moms and veterans.
"I'm just a man on a mission by God, fulfilling all his work,” Smith said.
Smith got to Tennessee on Tuesday and was looking for veterans, single mothers, and elderly and disabled people who need their lawns mowed.
"A lot of the people that we mow for are mainly elderly and on fixed incomes, and they really can't afford to pay anyone to mow their lawns, so when we can come cut them for free, they can use those funds for medication and food and other things they really need,” Smith said.
Smith said social media is his key to find people to help in each state. It brought him to the Murfreesboro lawn of Phil Barnett, who served in the Navy for more than 30 years.
"It's a nice thing. It's great to be appreciated,” Barnett said. “Remember, I'm old enough to remember when people came back from Vietnam, and they were not appreciated. Today, the military members and their families are greatly appreciated for their sacrifices."
In addition to helping out veterans and others, Smith also wants to inspire young children to help out in their own communities.
“The mission, the goal of this whole thing is to inspire kids to get out there and make a difference in their community with a lawnmower,” Smith said.
9-year-old Clarksville resident Ryan Youngquist is one of those children who is participating in Smith’s “50 Yard Challenge,” which encourages children to mow lawns for free in their neighborhoods. He helped Smith cut lawns in the Middle TN area Wednesday.
It’s a chore Youngquist was already doing before accepting the challenge, which comes with a final reward of a free lawnmower.
"My grandfather fell off the steps about six months ago and hurt his shoulder, so I've been mowing his grass ever since,” Youngquist said.
He said it feels good to help people.
"Because like Mr. Smith says, I'm able, other people aren't," Youngquist said.
Smith started his journey across the country in May. Mississippi is his next stop. He plans to finish his 50 state mission with a plane trip to Hawaii in July.