Three Evansville siblings share one common goal this summer: mow as many lawns as possible.
Lucas Fuller,15, Micah Fuller,13, and Gracianna Fuller,12, are participating in Raising Men Lawn Care Service’s 50-yard mowing challenge.
“We saw it online one day and thought it would be cool,” Lucas said.
Every 10 lawns they mow, the Fullers advance to a new color T-shirt. The Fullers scheduled their first five lawns last week.
This volunteer service is specifically for families of veterans, elderly people, single parents and disabled people near Evansville.
“It’s about giving back to your community,” Lucas said.
Founded in Alabama, word of mouth and social media have helped Raising Men Lawn Care Service expand, founder Rodney Smith Jr. said. The organization also has been featured on national news networks, such as Fox News and USA Today.
This month, the Raising Men Lawn Care Service website accounts for 902 kids participating in all 50 states and eight countries. Every lawn that the kids mow, they’re asked to send in a photo to Raising Men Lawn Care’s email address or phone number so they can keep track.
Smith said most kids will continue through other seasons by raking leaves and shoveling snow, but the choice is up to them.
“This is what I believe my purpose is in life: encouraging kids,” Smith said. “That’s the most important thing. That’s the bread and butter of the organization: encouraging kids to get out there and make a difference.”
One lawn at a time
The Fullers mowed one of their first lawns for Judy Oatman Saturday, June 13.
“I fell in two of the branches: old and widowed,” Oatman said.
Oatman’s children and grandchildren live in the Twin Cities, and they didn’t think Oatman should continue to live in Alexandria alone after her husband died in 2011. But Oatman refused to move away from her friends, church and home of 40 years. She said she has always felt safe and connected in the Alexandria area.
“This is where I belong,” she said. “God just keeps putting stuff in my path that says, ‘Yes, you can still be here.’”
After her lawn mower broke, someone from Oatman’s church told her about volunteers who would be willing to do the job. The Fullers showed up with a riding mower, a push mower and a weed trimmer.
“They appeared in my yard, and it was absolutely one of the most wonderful things that ever could’ve happened,” Oatman said.
The Fullers’ father took Oatman’s broken lawn mower to the hardware store for repairs, too.
“It was a blooming miracle,” Oatman said.