Twin Tiers boy mows 50 community lawns for free

Chemung County

ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WETM) — At the beginning of November, a 10-year-old boy from Elmira Heights got a visit from a special person.

Rodney Smith Jr. started “Raising Men Lawn Care” in 2016 after helping an elderly man mow his lawn in 2015. He then decided he wanted to help others by mowing lawns for free for the elderly, disabled, veterans, and single parents.

He has since traveled all over the U.S. mowing, lawns for free in each state. This jump-started the 50-yard challenge.

The challenge has gone virtual and now at least one kid has completed the challenge in each state. Once they complete the challenge Rodney drives to their house and gives them a black “Raising Men Lawn Care” shirt and some new equipment. He never expected the challenge to explode like it has.

“It’s something that you can never expect to see I believe it was God’s plan it’s like a book. And you just take it chapter by chapter what God has already written the book for you,” Rodney said. “So it’s just up to you to read the chapters in the book and see what he has planned for you.”

Megan Starkweather saw the challenge on her Facebook back in March and thought it was pretty neat. She asked her 10-year-old son Julian if he would like to do it and he agreed.

Let the mowing begin for Julian.

“We started going around asking all our neighbors. We live in an elderly neighborhood. Um, and they’re like yeah we appreciate it and there was a couple of houses that they were vacant, either for a temporary time being or the owner had deceased. And we did theirs as well,” Megan said.

Once Julian completed the challenge, he got a visit from Rodney at the beginning of November with that new equipment. Julian said he thought it was really cool to meet Rodney.

Megan also said how proud she is of her son. “I tell him all the time I’m proud of him, but really he’s an amazing kid,” she said. “I’m glad that we are more of an old school type family where we prefer the older traditions of teaching our kids young, and how to take care of themselves and take care of each other.”

Julian’s plan for next year? Do it all over again. He even has a goal for how many yards he would like to mow.

“I’m aiming for about 80 yards,” Julian says with a smile!

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