Huntsville nonprofit leader at risk for deportation asks for community’s help

The self-claimed native said he is trying to get his EB-1 visa approved to stay in the United States.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 5:12 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 9:20 PM

The man behind the "Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service" is asking for your help.

You've likely heard of Rodney Smith Jr. Usually, he's the one helping others.

Rodney Smith Jr.

He's a Rocket City resident who made it his mission to mow a lawn for someone in need in all 50 states.

Now, his nonprofit encourages kids to take the "50-Yard Challenge" where they mow 50 yards for the elderly, disabled, single parents or anyone who needs their assistance.

WAAY 31 spoke with him Tuesday about how he needs your help remaining in North Alabama.

Rodney Smith Jr. says he's spent most of his life in Huntsville, but now, his time here may be limited. He was born in Bermuda and shared that his latest visa application was denied.

"Whatever the outcome, this is the path God wanted me to go on, so this is a part of the journey," he said.

Rodney Smith Jr. started the "Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service" to help give free lawn care to veterans, the elderly, health care workers and even breast cancer survivors.

He's been to all 50 states to mow lawns for those who need him, and he says his nonprofit helped raise more than $17,000 last year, and more than 1,300 children are involved in his "50-Yard Challenge."

But now, that could all come to an end.

Smith told us he applied for an EB-1 visa. It's for those who have "extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim." It usually goes to professors or researchers, but Smith thinks it can apply to his work as well.

"I just need someone to look at the case and see what we're doing and reconsider that what we're doing is not only helping those we're working for, but the kids, and we have so many kids taking part. It's just a lot of emotions, you know," he said.

Now, he's asking for help from the people he's helped. He's starting a letter-writing campaign stating his work is exceptional to help him stay a legal resident of the United States.

"I will submit all the letters when I file an appeal. They denied the first one, so I'll appeal for reconsideration, and then, if they happen to deny that one, that's when I will appeal it and take it to federal court," he said.

Smith told us he has until Nov. 7 to receive the letters and send them off to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Smith said he's lived in Huntsville for 15 years and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Alabama A&M University.

He told us if you want to be part of his letter-writing campaign, you can send the letters to: P.O. Box 2182 in Madison, Alabama, 35758

Huntsville
Few Clouds
38° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 30°
Florence
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 34°
Fayetteville
Few Clouds
36° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 32°
Decatur
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 30°
Scottsboro
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 39°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 374493

Reported Deaths: 4602
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby48561673
Davidson43546421
Knox19358150
Rutherford18248163
Hamilton17311153
Williamson1168080
Sumner10123137
Out of TN811056
Wilson777980
Montgomery691585
Sullivan6641101
Washington6272108
Maury610667
Putnam600982
Blount575261
Bradley546935
Madison5445111
Sevier512133
Unassigned488822
Robertson389553
Tipton375339
Hamblen360761
Gibson332065
Dyer325451
Greene324872
Anderson310729
Dickson300434
Coffee288642
Carter286057
Bedford285132
Lawrence276134
Obion271751
McMinn267955
Cumberland266536
Roane243929
Warren243120
Jefferson236533
Loudon234819
Fayette230239
Hardeman227837
Monroe223244
Weakley221737
Franklin217935
Lauderdale208023
Hawkins204034
Wayne194610
Trousdale191512
Henderson190134
Macon186028
White180818
Rhea180132
Hardin180025
Marshall179622
Carroll178534
Lincoln166217
Haywood165830
Cheatham165317
Cocke165330
Campbell160323
Henry159319
Overton156435
Giles150249
Smith147720
Johnson144923
McNairy142433
Fentress124420
Hickman121619
DeKalb120422
Bledsoe11895
Lake11786
Crockett117126
Marion112219
Scott11197
Grainger105017
Chester104221
Decatur96112
Unicoi90226
Claiborne8979
Benton84214
Grundy79214
Cannon7864
Lewis77714
Morgan7626
Humphreys7418
Union7375
Jackson69410
Polk69415
Stewart61015
Houston59220
Clay56018
Sequatchie5465
Meigs51013
Perry49221
Moore4043
Pickett39513
Van Buren3792
Hancock1833

Community Events