Some people go to great lengths to pay their respects to military veterans. You often read or see inspirational, heartwarming stories on the Internet, but every now and then, you find a story about a hero who makes you reconsider your life. Recently, a hero, Rodney Smith, Jr., has gone viral on the Internet, but he doesn’t wear a cape. Instead, he pushes a lawnmower for veterans across the country.
What Started It All
Four years ago, Smith started his own lawnmowing company, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, that provides free services to the elderly, disabled, single mothers, and military veterans. In a now-viral 2015 Facebook post, Smith explained that he was inspired to start his business when he was driving down a street when he saw an elderly man struggling to mow his front lawn in the extreme summer heat. Smith knew the man shouldn’t be mowing his own lawn at his old age, but he probably doesn’t have any other choice. Here’s a post of his from 2018.
Smith knew he had to do something. He was in his 20s, so he could obviously mow the lawn for the elderly man. Smith pulled over to the side of the street, got out of his car, and finished mowing the man’s lawn. The man was so thankful for the kind gesture and he wouldn’t stop telling Smith how happy he was. This heartwarming interaction was just the beginning of Smith’s commitment to helping anyone who’s struggling to mow their lawns.
Searching For a Purpose
At the time, Smith was searching for a purpose in his life. He prayed that God would “use him as a vessel.” He knew he wanted to help people, but he didn’t know how. Now Smith believes he is carrying out his work of God by helping individuals, especially veterans, who can no longer complete ordinary tasks around the home, including mowing their own lawns. Smith is performing an important role, as more and more veterans need assistance.
Struggling To Adapt
Life is difficult for veterans once they return home. Recent statistics show that the number of veterans struggling to adapt to “civilian life” after their military service is increasing each year. Around twenty thousand wounded or ill veterans fail to find jobs. Justine Baynes from SSAFA, an Armed Forces charity, said, “Society doesn’t value the role veterans have played.”
While awareness has increased in recent years of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] for veterans, many psychologists say it’s not enough. We still forget the horrible events that veterans witnessed while serving overseas. They are suffering from a psychological trauma we can’t even imagine. They need assistance in order to settle back into society and it’s people like Smith, also a military veteran, who are helping them, no matter what it takes.
Visiting All 50 States
Smith doesn’t let location stop him from helping veterans. He has traveled to all 50 states to provide his free lawn care service. Every time he meets a new veteran, Smith is reminded of the service and sacrifice the veteran once made for his country. He said, “It was an honor meeting him [a veteran named Victor Michael] and on behalf of all of us, we thank you for your service and sacrifice.”
Smith’s selfless business has inspired social media users to participate in a “50 Yard Challenge,” in which they challenge others to cut 50 lawns free for the elderly, disabled, single mothers, and military veterans. The challenge has gone viral, with many people saying how Smith is shining a light on veteran appreciation. One user (@AtwaterBetsy) said, “Rodney Smith Jr, you, sir, are also among the BEST of the best! Thank you for letting your light shine so bright!”
Another user (@JeanyJerome) shared, “This is an amazing offshoot from your own generosity and a lovely legacy of love, humanity and kindness for all involved.” Keep mowing lawns for veterans. It might not seem like it matters, but it goes a long way.
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