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Former addict is bringing others to the light: ‘It’s a calling’

RICHMOND, Va. -- Pastor George Robinson lives to improve the lives of strangers.

Despite using a wheelchair, the man known affectionately as The Bishop of Hull Street has been working for more than 30 years to aid those who are homeless, hungry, or battling addiction; nourishing the body as well as the soul.

“I can’t stay in this wheelchair,” Robinson said. “Since ’05 I’ve been paralyzed on the left side. I’ve worked that area since 1984. It’s a ministry. It’s a calling. It’s a calling that God put certain people in certain places to do certain things. And we’re called to do that.”

“Because I came out of the streets. I know the streets. I know the people. I know what is going on out there,” Robinson said.

Long ago Robinson kicked his habit and found the Lord. Now he guides people down a similar path of redemption.

“Today, I live by faith. Somebody has to do it. Somebody did it for me so I thank God for that,” Robinson said.

As a pastor, Robinson prefers ministering in his street sanctuary rather than from a pulpit.

Men like Dennis Miles cherish the man and consider him as a father.

“He took me under his wings to a level I never knew I would be at. Divine intervention. It had to be.” “It was the will of God. The will of God that was inside of him. He gave me some of what he had.”

In the early '90s Dennis was fighting an addiction to crack cocaine until Pastor Robinson intervened.

“If it wasn’t for Bishop I probably would be sitting here. I’d probably be dead or in jail,” Miles said.

Three years ago in May of 2015, Pastor Robinson's ministry was forced to take a giant step back due to a  fire consuming his church and a restaurant where the homeless were fed, but the driven U.S. Army veteran refused to be derailed.

“I can’t give up. I can’t throw in your towel. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I just can’t do it,” Robinson said.

Robinson recently acquired a previously shuttered Hull Street church, and beyond the peeling paint and broken windows -  the Pastor sees beauty.  Eventually, the church will be transformed into The George Robinson Community Center and will work to house the homeless, provide meals and job training.

“I would love to see something done in this community before I get out of here. And go with the Lord. And that is what I want to do,” Robinson said.

The pastor is quick to credit his family and friends, like niece Andria Johnson, with helping his mission.

“He lives and breathes for this community. I think this community is what keeps his heart pumping,” Johnson said.

While his wheelchair may slow him down at times, the Bishop of Hull Street says when you're following Jesus' footsteps you'll eventually see the light.

“God brought me out. I’m free today. The Bible said who the son sets free they are free indeed. I’m free.”

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" features. If you know of someone CBS 6 should should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com. Click here to view more "Heroes Among Us" reports.