50 Yard Challenge founder helps Apopka police with lawn mowing mission

Officers vow to mow lawns for needy throughout summer

APOPKA, Fla. – Officers with the Apopka Police Department got some special help with their pledge to mow lawns for residents free of charge.

The pledge was announced in July as part of the Raising Men Lawn Care Service's 50 Yard Challenge.

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Rodney Smith, is helping Apopka police reach their “50 Yard Challenge” with a police car-inspired lawn mower. (Image: James Gosselin/WKMG)

The challenge was started by Rodney Smith as a way to encourage those in the community to help elderly, disabled, single parents or anyone who might need help mowing their yard.

On Wednesday, Smith made a stop in Apopka to offer words of encouragement to the officers who pledged to take part in the challenge. He also brought along a custom lawnmower outfitted with flashing police lights and decals.

"I thought it would be very cool to see officers out there mowing lawns and here we are today," Smith said. "This whole thing helped me find my true purpose in life, which is helping people."

Lawn mower gets makeover as part of 50 Yard Challenge. (Image: Mark Lehman/News 6)

Smith announced that he's launching his Mowing With Cops tour, which will take him to 50 police departments in 50 states.

"It's growing -- and with their help -- and we're trying to get more officers involved," Smith said. "I just want to get everyone out there and give back to the community."

Apopka Police Chief Mike McKinley issued a challenge of his own to other police departments throughout the state to join in the challenge.

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"With law enforcement, it's a great community endeavor," McKinley said. "Interaction with our community is something that's very important."

McKinley announced that his department is about halfway through completing the 50 Yard Challenge.

Once it's complete, Smith said he'll likely donate his lawnmower to the department or auction it off in an effort to raise money for a charitable cause.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.

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