What's Happening

Lawn-Mowing as a Patriotic Act


Google “lawn mower guy” and you’ll find dozens of stories about Chris Cox, shown here mowing around the Lincoln Memorial.  He became a local and national hero when he single-handedly mowed around memorials during the recent government shutdown.  Worried about public safety and vandalism at the monuments, at first he spent his nights patrolling them. That was when he noticed trash piling up, so he bought trash bags and got to work filling them. Clearing fallen branches came next.  By day 16 of the shutdown, the lawn really needed mowing, so he brought his mower from home and got to work mowing, which is what brought him to everyone’s attention.

The Park Service told him to stop mowing and he did, but continued with trash pick-up.  As news spread, as many as 200 other volunteers showed up on a single day to help.

cox facebook

And a hero was born!  Cox’s volunteerism has resulted in massive media coverage, and this “Lawnmower Guy for Congress” Facebook page (with 3,686 likes so far).  Then this week the national group Crowd it Forward  honored Cox in a ceremony on the Mall and awarded him with a bright new chain saw (retailing for $1,200) donated by a power-equipment company.   They were originally going to give him a riding mower, until learning that Cox isn’t, in fact, in the landscaping business but earns his keep as a chain-saw sculptor!  Yes, he creates those bears, cigar-store Indians and Tiki heads we see at the fair.crowd it forward

Thus, he was given a humongous chain-saw but it’s actually too large to be used to create sculptures.  It’s perfect for tree-cutting, though, and Cox says he plans to use it, as well as $1,701 in cash from Crowd It Forward, for his new endeavor – Memorial Militia – to “continue to pay it forward.”  The Militia is planned as a network of volunteers who do yard work for infirm vets – performing random acts of lawn mowing, brush-clearing, tree-trimming and leaf-blowing.  About 1,800 people around the U.S. have contacted Cox, expressing interest in participating.

Why the focus on vets?  Though not one himself, Cox is a big supporter of veterans and had been moved to prepare the Mall for a large veterans event there.

So despite a media swarm and partisans trying to co-opt him to reinforce their own notions of patriotism, Chris Cox is eschewing personal gain and turning his simple act of mowing into thousands of acts of kindness toward disabled veterans.  Yard work is a great way to say “Thank you for your service.”

Posted by on November 15, 2013 at 9:04 am, in the category What's Happening.
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14 responses to “Lawn-Mowing as a Patriotic Act”

  1. John says:

    Very nice story. It’s a great example of how just one person can make a positive impact in a community. I look forward to hearing about how his actions spurn acts of kindness to veterans in communities across the country.

  2. Laura Bell says:

    Good for him! I hope he is very successful.

  3. Susan says:

    It’s nice to have my faith in humanity restored, rather than shattered, as it so often is. Thanks for the update!

  4. nancy says:

    This is refreshing!

  5. Sandra Knauf says:

    Great story! It’s nice to see a true patriot in Washington, one who puts working for the common good above his personal interests.

  6. This was a great story. Well done, Susan.

  7. Hoov says:

    Lovely story, honorable man.

  8. Of Gardens says:

    thanks for bringing this story to even more attention. Somehow I missed hearing about it, and I am glad to know about it now.

  9. Thank you, Susan. I enjoyed the story immensely, but what I caught my attention was the title of the article, “Lawn-Mowing as Patriot”. Fabulous choice of words on your part. For me the title caught my attention and did its job of bringing me to the article itself.
    P.S. Nice to meet you on Sunday.

  10. This is an awesome story! Cox must not have anticipated that his “patriotism” would lead to this. The most sincere and consistent acts definitely are powerful to influence others.

  11. I’m based in the UK, but saw Chris on Fox News recently. He’s a hell of an example and deserves all the plaudits he’s receiving.

  12. Thank you for showcasing patriotism that does not require ribbon magnets.

  13. This is an awesome story. the most sincere and consistent acts definitely are powerful to influence others. Thank you for showcasing patriotism.

  14. Nice story in this depressing environment.