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Roscoe teens mow 100 yards for people unable to do it themselves

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Raising Men Lawncare Servic

ROSCOE (WREX) — Mowing the lawn is a task as old as time.

Most kids had to go out per their parents request and cut the grass, maybe getting a little allowance for it along the way.

This type of work feels like anything but for Kyle Kroening and Kaiden Koch.

These two Roscoe teens have been mowing lawns all over Winnebago County since the summer of 2018.

When they're mowing, Kyle and Kaiden see it as just a part of their lives now.

"When I'm mowing it's like a mental break," Koch said.

"My mindset with mowing now is its just a part of me," Kroening said.

The boys were inspired to power up the mower by Rodney Smith Jr.

Smith Jr. is an Alabama man who began mowing lawns in 2015 for people with disabilities and military veterans.

It led him to create Raising Men Lawn Care Service, taking his lawn mowing across the country to encourage kids and teens to help others.

Kyle mom Elizabeth was scrolling through social media one day and found Smith Jr.'s challenge, and decided to take it on.

"As I continued to read about it, I found he was doing a 50 yard challenge and challenging kids to give back in their community," Elizabeth Kroening said.

A challenge Elizabeth encouraged Kyle and Kaiden to take on.

Since the summer of 2018, the boys have gone well beyond the 50 yard challenge.

Just a couple weeks agom they mowed their 100th lawn, following in Rodney Smith Jr.'s footsteps of mowing for those that aren't able to do it themselves.

"It's just one more thing that they don't have to worry about. Just mowing their lawns so its just one more thing they don't have to worry about or burden themselves with," Kyle Kroening said.

It's a job the boys take pride in and success Elizabeth is happy to celebrate from a challenge accepted on a whim.

"I'm just so proud of the boys," Elizabeth Kroening said.

"One of the things I hear in the community from people is that there's just not kids out here that are doing stuff like this where they're out working and willing to volunteer their time."

Like Kyle and Kaiden said at the beginning, lawn work doesn't feel like work at all, it's a way for them to do good while connecting with the people living around them.

"They kind of explain their back story. For a disabled person, how they became disabled or a veteran says where they served," Koch said.

"Being in the community like this and hearing just how much we're actually helping people. It means a lot," Kyle Kroening said.

The boys are taking on a new challenge now.

They want to mow 50 yards for teachers and educators in the community.

If you're interested in helping them reach their goal, you can reach out to them here.

If you know anyone trying to connect our community and make it better, you can fill out a nomination form here or you can reach out to

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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