Rodney Smith, Jr. is a favorite here at Redstate. The Alabama resident truly gives new meaning to “walking the walk” with his Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service. Smith encourages young people to serve their elderly and disabled neighbors by mowing their lawns for free. He calls it “The 50 Yard Challenge.” Once they’ve completed their goal, he drives to their home and presents them with a t-shirt and lawn mowing supplies to continue with their very own lawn care businesses.
Making a difference one lawn at a time. Full version 2:39. pic.twitter.com/exIop95Kjo
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) August 14, 2020
It’s a beautiful representation of the American spirit, and Smith himself is a wonderful representation of great Americans everywhere.
However, as it turns out, Smith is not an American…yet.
I’ve written about Smith several times and I’m a big fan of his mission. I had no idea that all this time he’s been serving his fellow Americans he was actually a Bermudan immigrant simultaneously trying to work within the system to gain official citizenship.
On Tuesday, Smith put out a call for help from his Twitter account. He’s been working diligently to get through the process but the process has not swung in his favor.
Serving the people of the United States is my passion, and it is here where I want to spend the rest of life, fulfilling the mission of my foundation, Raising Men Lawn Care Service (as well as Raising Women Lawn Care Service), by providing free lawn services to the elderly, disabled, single parents and veterans. However, my stay here is in jeopardy. I may be forced to leave the country. I have followed all the appropriate and legal protocols, but things have not gone my way. My application for a green card was recently denied by the USCIS. I will continue to fight to earn permanent residency, and ultimately my citizenship, but my options are limited.
While I was born and raised in Bermuda, in my heart, I am an American. I love this country. I completed my high school education here. I earned my bachelor’s degree in computer science and master’s degree in social work at Alabama A&M University. More importantly, here is where I discovered my passion for helping others. From the first lawn I mowed for a struggling elderly man until today, my goal has been to help as many people as possible. A simple lawnmower changed my life and created countless opportunities for me to assist people.
Smith went on to lay out the impressive record of his lawn care program, which has so far raised over $17,000 and helped 14 families. There are now over 1300 children enrolled across the country, with more in Canada, Bermuda, South Africa, Sweden, UK, Germany, Japan and Australia.
That’s quite a reach for a man without permanent home.
I am sharing this not to boast, but because I have only just begun. I have so much more I want to accomplish. The RMLCS family has created a movement. Not only are we helping people, but we are teaching children how they can make a difference in their communities. I made a promise to each kid who finished the Challenge that I would deliver new lawn equipment. I want to see that promise through. I continue to believe that what we do makes a difference. Our mission is far from complete.
Unfortunately, all this is in jeopardy now and Mr. Smith is reaching out to his supporters for help.
First: I anyone knows of an immigration lawyer who can assist me, please let me know. The immigration process can be complicated and stressful. I need someone to advise me on which avenue will increase my chance of getting a positive outcome.
Second: My first application for a green card was recently denied. I applied for the EB-1 visa, which is for foreign nationals who demonstrate extraordinary abilities in their field. The denial letter stated that I have “not provided documentary evidence that my work is an original contribution of major significance to the field” (my field being social work). It also stated that the USCIS “does not find the beneficiary to be an individual of extraordinary ability.” Needless-to-say, I do not agree with its assessment of my foundation or me. I believe what the foundation does is unique….
…I need to start a letter-writing campaign. I need people who have been positively impacted by my foundation or people who are aware of the work of the foundation to write letters of support, stating the exceptional services the foundation provides to communities around the United States. The letters will be compiled and mailed to USCIS, as I appeal its decision. Please send your letters to P.O. Box 2182, Madison, Alabama 35758. Thank you for your help.
Family, I need your help. Please read. pic.twitter.com/GAh6BKs3Is
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) October 27, 2020
I’m an immigrant myself (Canada), and even with American relatives and an American husband my path to citizenship was long and expensive. Our immigration system is mired in red tape and bureaucratic nonsense. I can personally attest to the frustration and challenges Smith is meeting, and that’s why I’m sharing his plea today. There is no doubt in my mind that Rodney Smith, Jr. qualifies as an extraordinary man in this extraordinary nation. We need Mr.Smith. We need a million Mr.Smiths. Are his services “unique” and “extraordinary”? Perhaps that question should go to the countless citizens he’s served and the American children he’s empowered. Many (not all) of his mentees come from single-parent homes. What could be more valuable to our nation’s future than a child who may have a lot of odds stacked against him finding encouragement, purpose and employment? We’re constantly arguing over funding welfare programs to do exactly what Smith has been doing all on his own for years now.
I’ll be writing a letter on Smith’s behalf. If you can spare the time, I ask you do so as well. This man is an American, even if he doesn’t have the papers that say it yet. In his heart, in his spirit, in his service, in his dedication…this man is an American. He’s one of us and needs us. He has served us, now let us serve him.
Click here to donate to Smith’s foundation and please do send that letter. If there is any better representation of what immigration is supposed to mean to both us and those who seek us out, I do not know of it.