Doña Ana County

‘50 LAWNS IN 50 STATES’ TO MAKE STOP IN LAS CRUCES ON MAY 16

‘50 LAWNS IN 50 STATES’ TO MAKE STOP IN LAS CRUCES ON MAY 16

 

            He’s been featured on NBC News, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Report, among other major media outlets, and now Rodney Smith, Jr., is planning a stop in Las Cruces at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 16, as part of his initiative to cut lawns in each of the 50 states to raise awareness for the Raising Men Lawn Care Service charity program.

            He will make brief remarks, and then he will cut the north lawn of the Doña Ana County Government Center. The public is invited to attend and to participate by bringing their personal lawn mowers to assist him. The lawn will be marked so that participants can avoid hitting sprinkler heads and other breakable infrastructure.

            Smith is a graduate student at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama. He recently graduated with a degree in computer science and is now pursuing a master’s degree in social work.

            A native of Bermuda, Smith began cutting grass for the elderly, disabled, single-parent mothers and veterans in Huntsville and the surrounding areas, free of charge, in 2015. Initially, his goal was to cut 100 lawns before winter of 2015. He quickly hit that mark, garnered some local news coverage and was inspired to launch an organization with a mission to help those in need and inspire the youth to do the same.

            “Raising Men Lawn Care Service” foundation was born, and is a growing union of an ordinary yard maintenance service and a program to inspire young men, women, boys and girls to choose a positive path for their lives as they learn their value in society.

            “Young people learn valuable skills and the joys of giving back without receiving any monetary benefit while being mentored by an older adult who encourages them to stay in school and make good life choices,” Smith said

            Smith said the 50 lawns in 50 states initiative is a natural extension of a parade of people who have walked, run, cycled or driven across America for a cause. On May 10, Smith will embark on his own adventure around the United States. His goal is to travel to all 50 states (driving to 48 and flying to Alaska and Hawaii).

             During that time, Smith will mow at least one lawn in each state for a senior citizen, disabled person, single mom or military veteran. In the early stages of selecting lawns in each state, Smith was contacted by Doña Ana County Public Information Director Jess C. Williams, who asked Smith whether he’d deviate from his usual mission to cut the lawn of the Doña Ana County Government Center as a media event.

            Smith only agreed after securing a second New Mexico lawn — in Mimbres — that ensures he has reached his target demographic, but he said he’s hopeful the stop in Doña Ana County will bring additional attention to his mission of raising the profile of RMLS and inspire new participation in this region.

            Smith said he is hopeful and confident that the 50-state initiative will encourage as many kids as possible to accept the 50-yard challenge. Also, he said he’ll talk with folks who are inspired to start chapters in their cities and/or states.

            “It’s a much-needed service for anyone who has to manage a lawn,” he said, “and my goal is to have a chapter in each state to help those folks, while also helping local youth.”

            Smith said many in his demographic cannot afford to pay for lawn care service. For many of them, if they don’t get their lawns cut, governments impose fines on them until they get their lawns in order.

            Smith said he has heard many stories from senior citizens on fixed incomes who could not afford to pay lawn-maintenance companies and therefore had no choice but to pay the fines.

            “Now they have another option: Raising Men Lawn Care Service,” he said. “We mow their lawns free of charge, but we need more chapters throughout the U.S. to help the many others we can’t reach from Huntsville.”

            During 2016, Smith started a challenge to kids worldwide called the 50-yard challenge. The challenge was for them to cut 50 lawns free for the elderly, disabled, single mothers and veterans in their town. If they accept this challenge, all they would need to do is send in a photo holding a sign saying “I accept the 50-yard challenge,” and in return RMLC sends them their white RMLC shirt to get them started. For every 10 lawns cut, they will get a new color shirt until they own the full complement of shirts in white, orange, green, blue, red and finally black.

            “Once they reach 50 lawns, we will come visit them in their city, cut a few lawns with them, and give them different color Raising Men Lawn Care Service shirts. And we will also give them a brand new lawn mower,” Smith said.

            To learn more about Smith and RMLS, visit 50states50lawns.com or weareraisingmen.com, or join Smith on the morning of May 16 at the Doña Ana County Government Center to visit with him in person.

 

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.