HIDDEN HEROES: A look back at where some of our heroes are now

Hidden Heroes
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

ALABAMA (WIAT) – We last saw Kai Hawkins and his family in May.  The Alabaster Fire Department– where Kai’s father, Zane, works–was painting its fire hydrants orange in honor of the toddler and his brave battle with cancer.  This week, Kai’s mom, Erika, told us that Kai had done well through about 7 weeks of chemo treatments.  He has two weeks left, then an off week, and then he starts a more difficult regiment.  Erika said this could be the time that Kai will lose his hair. 

The community is continuing to rally around Kai’s family through donations and fundraisers to help his family make ends meet during his treatments.  This Saturday, July 21, the Childersberg Elks Lodge is hosting Cookout for Kai starting at 10:00am.  Admission is free and there will be activities, food, and drinks for the whole family.  To learn more about Kai and his family, you can look back at our original Hidden Hero report, here.


Grayson Phillips is continuing to plan fundraising events and support other groups as well–all to raise money to get more people all-terrain wheelchairs.  On the 4th of July, Phillips posted a video congratulating the latest recipient, Noah Walters.The Outdoor Ability Foundation is now working with a group that is hosting a Fishing Tournament for a Walker County boy named Kolton Syx.  Phillip’s father, Scott, told us that they have plans to get at least two more chairs for disabled outdoorsmen this year.  “We have a couple of events planned- a scavenger hunt on the river on Sept. 9th and my wife, Kathleen, is going to do a cooking show on November 1st,” Phillips wrote.  For more information about The Outdoor Ability Foundation, follow them on Facebook or click here.  To see our original Hidden Heroes report on Grayson, click here.


When we caught up with Rodney Smith he was about a dozen states into a big challenge.  Rodney had set out, for the second time, to mow lawns in every state in the country.  He started mowing lawns after noticing a man struggling to do it himself while he was in school.  Now, he uses his Hunstville-based organization, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, to show children the importance of giving back to their communities.  He is also challenging children to use their summers to take the 50 lawn challenge (which is exactly what it sounds like).  This week, Smith just completed the last leg of his country-wide tour, flying back home from Hawaii.  Meanwhile, in Etowah County, a group of youngsters from the Pathways Academy Key Club picked up his challenge last Wednesday.  At last check, they had already mowed 24 lawns in about a week–posting pictures of their efforts on Facebook.  To see our original Hidden Heroes report on Rodney, click here.  To follow along with the group of teens who have accepted Smith’s challenge, click here as they make their way to mowing 50 lawns. 

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