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Rodney Smith has day named after him in Reno, Nevada

Perk for your sacrifice: Rodney Smith Jr when he set off to complete his goal of taking his charitable lawn-mowering to all 50 US states. Delta Air Lines had donated tickets for flights to Alaska and Hawaii. Here Mr Smith met the pilots of his flight to Anchorage, Alaska (Photograph from Rodney Smith Jr/Twitter)

A Bermudian man whose lawnmower has cut a swath across all 50 US states in aid of charity has had a special day named in his honour by officials in Nevada.

February 8 was dubbed Rodney Smith Jr Day in the casino city of Reno to recognise his inspiring work encouraging youngsters to help out their neighbours with yard work.

When children take care of 50 yards in their neighbourhood, Mr Smith presents them with a lawnmower, weed eater and leaf blower for their efforts.

In a proclamation, Hillary L Schieve, the Reno mayor, said Mr Smith deserved the praise for helping youngsters to offer assistance in their communities.

She stated: “Rodney Smith Jr began the Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service 50 Yard Challenge to encourage children to help their neighbours with yard work, especially those who may be elderly, disabled, single parents, or veterans.

“And, the organisation has encouraged young community members to engage in mowing lawns, shovelling snow and raking leaves to make their local areas cleaner and more safe.

“And, there are 4,353 children taking part in the challenge across 50 states and eight countries with over 21,000 lawns being serviced and 250,000 supporters of his cause world wide.

“And, when a young man or woman completes the challenge, Rodney Smith Jr travels to them and personally offers his congratulations.

“Children who complete the challenge are then given their own lawnmower, weed eater and leaf blower.

“And, the City of Reno extends their personal thanks to Rodney Smith Jr for his encouragement of young men and women in committing themselves to community service and selflessness.”

Mr Smith stated he was honoured by the move, which he said was unexpected.

He Tweeted: “Thank you to the Mayor and good people of Reno, Nevada, for this proclamation. I am honoured. I wasn’t expecting this at all. They also awarded five kids in your programme awards for taking part in our 50 yard challenge.”

After completing a US lawn mowing tour in May 2021, which saw him travel 12,000 miles in 19 days, Mr Smith told The Royal Gazette: “I mow for different causes to bring awareness and raise money and that was my tenth 50-state tour.

“I customised a lawnmower with gold ribbons for childhood cancer and then I went to all 50 states – driving to 48, flying to Alaska and Hawaii – and mowing for families who have kids with childhood cancer or have lost a kid to childhood cancer.

“I mowed the lawn, interviewed them and auctioned the lawnmower off that I’d customised.”

With his efforts come a team of more than 2,000 girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 17. Spread across all 50 US states and also in Bermuda, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Japan, South Africa and Switzerland.

He said of the charity push: “It just started naturally. It was just the grace of God; God’s work. I came across an elderly man outside mowing his lawn. He was struggling. I pulled over and helped him out and that’s what gave me the idea of starting to mow lawns for free.

“Everyone has their own unique story. It’s a pleasure too. When kids take part in a programme they always send pictures of each lawn they do and when they complete [it] it’s always a pleasure to meet them in person, to get to see who they are and ask them about how [the challenge] was and stuff like that.”

Mr Smith’s efforts have been highlighted across the US via appearances on CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox News and other media.

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Published February 10, 2023 at 7:52 am (Updated February 10, 2023 at 7:52 am)

Rodney Smith has day named after him in Reno, Nevada

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