HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A Huntsville man has been named one of the most inspiring people in the nation for 2018!
His journey across the United States to help others went viral and now Rodney Smith Jr. is taking his mission to a whole new level in 2019.
Smith became famous for mowing 50 lawns in 50 states. He is the founder of Raising Men Lawn Care service.
In 2015, he came across an elderly man mowing his lawn and it was a pivotal moment.
"It looked like he was struggling so I pulled over and helped him out. That night, I decided to mow free lawns for the elderly, single moms, disabled, and veterans," Smith said.
At first, his goal was to mow 40 lawns because he was getting his degree in computer science at the time. But he reached his goal so quickly, he revised his plan to 100 lawns. A month and a half later, he reached that number and that’s when the idea of Raising Men Lawn Care came about. Smith now has more than 73,000 Twitter followers as his story went viral.
"We still mow free lawns for the elderly, disabled, single moms and veterans. We also kids ages 7-17 to show them the importance of giving back to their community with a lawnmower," he explained.
Over the holidays, he hit the road to help the homeless in different cities. Dressed as Santa Claus, he surprised a lot of people, handing out blankets, sleeping bags, tents and backpack full of items.
He ended up making CNN’s list of “5 people who inspired us this year -- and the impact they continue to have.” READ MORE HERE!
"One thing I've learned is that you never know who your audience is, especially on social media. You never know who is watching. CNN happened to be one of the people who were watching," Smith stated.
But he doesn't do it for the attention.
"It's like when a horse is in a race and he has the blinders on to keep straight. That's what God is doing for me. He's keeping me straight, keeping me on point and focused on the real goal and that's helping people. You might see all the news coverage and I see it, but I don't see it at the same time because I'm so focused on the mission," Smith added.
Smith's mission has touched the hearts of many all over the country and he's found social media stardom. It's allowed him to grow his efforts even more.
"This year, my goal is to travel to all seven continents and mow lawns on all seven continents," he revealed.
Smith went to school to be a computer scientist but he says God showed him his true purpose in life. This past May, as he was traveling the nation, he finished his masters in social work.
"If I never would have come across the elderly man that day, I would be somewhere doing computer science," he added. "
He recently started something called Raising Hope, helping regular people in need.
He'll be raising money every month. People can donate to the fund and nominate someone who needs assistance.
“Say someone has some bills they’re way behind on or they have medical problems they need help with that. We’re going to pick one person once a month and surprise them with whatever money we raise and help them out,” Smith said.