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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

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