Street Stories

Cutting a helpful path through RI and the rest of the country

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — It's a simple gesture of help, with an important message of hope.

Rodney Smith guided his well-traveled lawn mower across a Coast Guard veteran's North Kingstown yard with a smile.

Rhode Island is state number 14 for the most recent path, cut across the country by Smith's Raising Men Lawn Care Service

The 29-year-old has cut at least 50 lawns in 50 states twice in the last two years, and now he plans on doing the same in the month of October. 

"We want young people to see what we do for free, and then do it themselves to help their neighbors. The elderly, veterans, the disabled, and single mothers," Smith said. "It doesn't take that much to give back to the community."

David Lambert, diagnosed with a rare blood disorder only weeks ago, was happy to see Smith unpack the machine from his trunk and go to work on his Coventry yard.

"I don't know him. He doesn't know me," Lambert said. "It's weird to get this type of help that I can't do. My doctors said none of this stuff. I'm just appreciative." 

Smith first pulled the cord on his nonprofit a few years back when he saw an elderly man struggling to cut his grass in his home state of Alabama. 

He volunteered to help and soon realized he could weave a message into the task by mowing and promoting the idea of community service for the people who need it most.

"All the people we mow for either can't afford it or can't do it for themselves," Smith said. "So, if I can come mow for free, they use those funds for medication, food." 

Lambert truly appreciated the help.

"Taking care of people who are going through hard times is just a fantastic thing," he said.

As Smith mows through the country, he's also partnered with a hero, Spiderman, to visit hospitals and homes

 to bring hope to ill and disabled children.

"The kids' faces just lit right up," Smith said, referring to a visit to a Rhode Island home. "Spiderman just walked up and the kids started running toward them. One young lady had cerebral palsy." 

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