An EMT grows in Brooklyn

Training lifesavers in a neighborhood with to... 02:13

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Volunteers from the Bedford-Stuyvesant Ambulance Corps are trained to expect the worse.

In this Brooklyn neighborhood, shootings and stabbings occur regularly.

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74-year-old James Robinson is the man behind the EMT training.

"Your job is to try to resuscitate them bring them back to life and then let the emergency room work on them," says, James Robinson. Robinson, 74, is a retired EMS captain -- and the man behind the EMT training.

"I want to teach them how to save a life instead of taking a life," he said. "Raise the level of their thinking and they could be anything that they want to be."

Thirty-year-old Isaac Rodriguez used to sell drugs. Now he's training to be an EMT.

"This place woke me up," he said. "You know, seeing so much positive - it's like, I want to do that too. I want to be a part of that."

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Volunteers work to save lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

In many ways it was difficult to give up his old lifestyle, Rodriguez added, "because you are surrounded by it."

Over the years, Robinson has trained more than a thousand neighborhood kids. He funds 85 percent of the program with his pension and a reverse mortgage. Donations make up the rest.

The money pays for uniforms and supplies as well as two ambulances that are staffed by a certified EMT.

"I don't think that I could do nothing else because everybody has a mission in life and I didn't realize my mission in life until I actually got into it," he said.

At least 90 percent Robinson's students go on to pass the state licensing exam and get a full-time job as an EMT. Some of them come back to volunteer, and train the next batch of recruits.