Everyday Hero


When a young man has a calling to step up and help others, without pressure or financial reward, he should be recognized and lauded. I want to celebrate Rodney Smith. He serves as a model of selflessness by helping others, just because he can.

Rodney’s journey to help others began in the fall of 2015 when he saw a senior citizen struggling to mow his lawn:

When Smith got out of his car and helped the man finish his yard, he decided to start the organization [Raising Men Lawn Care Service] in his hometown — Huntsville, Alabama. Now, 137 kids in the United States, and a few others abroad, are mowing lawns in their communities, Smith told CBS News.

Please take note: these kids are volunteering to mow lawns for the elderly, disabled, single mothers and veterans—at no charge.

Smith is on a mission to give back to the community and help others. Growing up in Bermuda, he learned the importance of giving back:

‘Giving back is important in Bermuda,’ he said. ‘If you see someone struggling, you go help them out regardless of who they are. It’s just a way of life in Bermuda, and that’s what I want to do here.’

He’s been able to raise funds through a Go-Fund-Me account, as well as a donation and equipment from Briggs & Stratton. Kids 7-17 are eligible to learn how to use leaf blowers and lawn mowers.

The reasons I am so inspired by Rodney Smith, Jr. are many. First, that time he jumped out to help the elderly person mowing his lawn shows him to be a person of compassion and character. He then set his own goals for helping others with their yard care. Next, he took the initiative to hire and inspire others to do the same kind of volunteer work through his own actions: he mowed lawns for those who needed the help in all 50 states. Through his company, he has started chapters. He put out a challenge to kids for a “50-yard Challenge,” for them to mow the lawns of 50 people; he’s designed tee-shirts for each time they complete an increment of 10—a different color as they complete their commitment. He is also a role model of entrepreneurship, but he puts his money where his mouth is: he’s out there mowing lawns, too.

Even more powerful is the opportunity he’s providing for these young men: a chance to learn the joys of helping others without financial compensation; learning how to plan, organize and be responsible for keeping appointments and maintaining equipment; and finally, burning off some energy while they’re doing the work! He’s talked about including girls, but my hope is that he provides a different organization name for that group. Young men need to have their own space to do their work.

Smith is finishing his undergraduate degree in computer science and has decided to get a master’s degree in social work.

My last point is noting the powerful statement this young man is making to everyone in our society. He speaks about and demonstrates values that are not mired in any political ideology; in fact, his values transcend the politics of our time. We need more of these young men not to just be role models to our young people, but to show how everyone can find a way to escape the ideas in which we are trapped, and maybe, just maybe, find common ground.

There are 6 comments.

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  1. Nerina Bellinger Inactive
    Nerina Bellinger

    I am humbled.  Thank you for sharing, Susan!

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Nerina Bellinger (View Comment):

    I am humbled. Thank you for sharing, Susan!

    Me too, @nerinabellinger. I don’t think he needs a degree in social work; he could probably teach those professors a thing or two. I think he just needs to follow his own calling and guidance. Thanks for commenting!

    • #2
  3. TedRudolph Inactive

    I’ve previously read about Rodney…. and I’m happy to read about him again.

    Teaching kids the value of a job well done AND showing them to help others is something we need more of.

    • #3
  4. RightAngles Member

    We could sure use more Rodneys.

    • #4
  5. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell

    Thanks for posting that story, Susan. It’s a much needed reminder that, in spite of all the media stories everyday, there are caring and compassionate people quietly doing good work in this world.

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Thanks for posting that story, Susan. It’s a much needed reminder that, in spite of all the media stories everyday, there are caring and compassionate people quietly doing good work in this world.

    What’s wonderful is to imagine that all those kids whose lives he’s touched might be emissaries for this kind of good work. And then all the life skills they are learning as well. Our leaders could learn a few lessons about being industrious and dedicated!

    • #6

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