NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A veteran emergency responder has been training young people in Brooklyn to follow in his footsteps, all at his own expense.

James Robinson, 74, is a retired EMS captain.

He now runs the Bedford-Stuyvesant Ambulance Corps where he trains young people, some of whom were headed for troubled lives, and turns them into life-savers in their community.

“This place woke me up,” said Isaac Rodriguez, one of Robinson’s students. “You know, seeing so much positive – it’s like, I want to do that too. I want to be a part of that.”

Over the years, Robinson has trained over a thousand neighborhood kids.

“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,” Robinson said.

At least 90 percent of his students go on to pass the state licensing exam and get a full-time job as an EMT, Robinson said.

Robinson funds 85 percent of the program and donations make up the rest.

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