CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- “I wake up; I see grass; I cut it,” says Phoenix Browne. "When my mom tells me to cut the grass, I cut it.”
Last year, the 13-year-old Chesapeake resident accepted a challenge from his dad to cut 50 lawns - for free.
“Cutting others’ grass not only makes him feel good, but it makes others feel good, too, to know that he’s giving back to society," says Phoenix's mom, Joycelene Tetteh.
It's part of a nationwide program called the Raising Men Lawn Care Service. Young people can win t-shirts by cutting lawns for people who need the help.
“You cut grass for the elderly, single parents, disabled [people] and veterans.”
Phoenix cut 50 lawns in just three weeks while in school at the Virginia Virtual Academy.
"I was having so much fun with it I started cutting 10 lawns a day, 20 lawns - it was easy. I want to do it again," Phoenix told us.
“He works really hard; he’s cutting the grass every week. He's always on time; he keeps this grass in shape. I just look out the window, and he’s doing it for me," says neighbor Grant Laughrey.
"It really helped them engage and network with the community and meet some really cool people because we were in Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk," according to Phoenix's mom.
And we’re not the first to recognize Phoenix for his efforts. He has numerous local awards - and even one from the White House!
So, we wanted to add to his growing list of accolades. We surprised him with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.
“Thank you so much. I really appreciate it," Phoenix said.
I asked him why he works so hard.
“The encouragement, the love, the excitement - that’s what motivates me," he answered with a huge smile.