PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A mission born in Alabama has made its way to Portland, Oregon.
Rodney Smith Jr. is mowing lawns, for free, for people who can’t do it themselves.
And he’s looking for lawns in all 50 states.
The mission started as an idea to help his local community but it grew into much more.
Friday marked Smith’s 37th time mowing a stranger’s lawn in as many states in just 16 days. He helps the elderly, disabled, veterans and single parents.
“It’s pretty cool because when I was younger I disliked mowing lawns,” Smith told KOIN 6 News. “God took something I disliked and turned it into something I love to do and I’m doing it every single day, free of charge.”
Smith is currently on his 6th tour of the United States. This time, he’s partnering with local police departments, including the Portland Police Burea. Smith even has a special police-themed mower.
“It’s very meaningful and positive for us to interact positively with communities and learn from them,” said PPB Officer Natasha Haunsperger.
A Portland police officer joined Smith as he helped 90-year-old Portland resident Ramona Baurer mow her lawn.
“I can’t remember the last time I did that,” Baurer remarked afterward. “Probably more like 30 years ago.”
Smith’s visit had the nonagenarian reflecting on the kindness of strangers.
“I thought, there is still good in this world,” she said. “I was beginning to think there wasn’t so much. But there is, thanks to Rodney.”
Smith is also challenging kids in their local communities to mow 50 lawns for free.
“A lot of kids today are inside playing video games and they really don’t know about the community,” Smith said. “So the whole idea is to get kids outside and make a difference, one lawn at a time.”
Boys and girls in nearly every state are following Smith’s lead.