10-year-old boy completes 50-yard challenge mowing lawns for free in his community


ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WETM) — A 10-year-old boy from New York got a visit from a special person after completing a challenge.

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.

Smith Jr. has since traveled all over the United State mowing lawns for free in each state. This jump started the 50-yard challenge.

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.

“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,” Starkweather told NewsNation affiliate WETM.

At least one kid has finished the challenge in each state. Smith Jr. said 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.”

Once the challenge is completed, Smith Jr. drives to the participates house and gives them a black “Raising Men Lawn Care” shirt and some new equipment.

Smith Jr. visited Julian at the beginning of November.

“I tell him all the time I’m proud of him, but really he’s an amazing kid,” Starkweather 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 plans to do it all over again next year. He even has a goal for how many yards he would like to mow.

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

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