A 14-year-old boy sat aboard a big, red lawn mower at the Hawaii state capitol Monday to complete his goal of mowing the lawn at all 50 state capitols.
Ryan Tripp of Beaver, Utah, undertook his adventurous campaign in June to raise awareness for organ donation in Salt Lake City. It qualified him for the Guinness Book of World Records, and CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell talked to the teen-ager who has literally cut his way into history.
There are currently more than 65,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the U.S., and nearly 16 people die every day waiting for donations that never come. It is a statistic that Ryan Tripp learned in 1997.
"I rode my lawnmower from Sioux City to Washington, D.C. to help raise [$15,000] for a little girl that needed a liver transplant," he recalls. "I realized how important it was when that little girl got a liver transplant. And since we mowed the U.S. capitol last time, that's how we got the idea to mow all 50."
Ryan says that talking to donor families during his awareness campaign was the best part of the trip, but when it came to the best state: "Of all the places in America to cut grass, Hawaii is the best," he declares. "North Dakota had the biggest lawn."
Officially a Guinness World Record holder, Ryan says his fame will not result in the raising of his mowing rates, partly because his long-term goals donÂ't involve scything sod.
"Probably not something that deals with mowing lawns, or probably not something that deals with politics," he says. "Maybe something that deals with sports."
The teen-ager said he wants to continue his organ and tissue transplant awareness by riding his lawn mower across all seven continents next year.
[Spurs forward Sean Elliott is doing well after receiving a new kidney in a transplant operation. Doctors say the NBA champ's dream of returning to basketball may be possible in the coming months.]