ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Rodney Smith, a graduate student attending Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, makes his first trip to Alaska. Smith traveled thousands of miles to mow a yard in Anchorage that belongs to a married couple who are disabled veterans.
"It's a very beautiful place, but it takes a long time to get here," Smith said with a laugh Wednesday morning.
The trip is part of his campaign to mow 50 yards in all 50 states in order to spread the word about his non-profit organization called Raising Men Lawn Care Service.
The idea began two years ago.
"Back in 2015, I saw an elderly man outside cutting his grass," Smith said. "It looked like he was struggling, and from that day I decided I wanted to cut grass free for the elderly, disabled, single-parent mothers and veterans."
After cutting 100 yards, Smith started his organization, which encourages young people to help others in their communities by offering free yard care.
"At first, some kids come to the program because their parents want them to," Smith said. "But once they start, they're calling us saying they want to make a difference in their community and that's a beautiful thing to see. They'd rather be outside cutting grass instead of playing video games."
To motivate the young men, Smith began the "50-yard Challenge." Kids get a different colored shirt every time they mow 10 more yards. When they reach 50 yards mowed, Smith visits them and their family gets a free lawnmower.
Alaska is the 49th state on Smith's nationwide tour. He travels to Hawaii on Thursday as his final stop.
His goal is to have chapters of his organization in every state. And next year, he wants to take the effort to other countries.
Follow this link for more information on Raising Men Lawn Care.