Michael R. Robinson takes his job at Citrus Memorial Hospital seriously.

“Basically, I’m an EVS assistant,” he said of his job in environmental services. “I do housekeeping, trash, linens, bio, cardboard. I’ve moved brand-new beds and stretchers from the trucks. It’s a very big department to work in, and we finally have a group that works together, and I like who I work with.”

Michael Robinson dominant

Michael Robinson, a Environmental Services assistant at Citrus Memorial Hospital and a client of the Key Training Center, is all smiles as he works while waiting for an elevator Wednesday morning. One of Robinson's responsibilities is to discard waste collected in certain areas of the hospital.

A Key Training Center client, Mikey, as he is called, started at the hospital as a volunteer. This month he celebrates 10 years as a CMH employee.

“When he first started working there, they liked him so much that they made a position for him,” said Robinson’s mom, Sue Manfredi. “The only thing he did was collect cardboard for recycling, and little by little he worked his way up...even to biohazard, which I used to be so afraid of. But they trained him, and he gloves up and he’s very careful.”

Now 34, Robinson weighed 2 pounds at birth. He proudly tells people that he was a “preemie,” and went through numerous surgeries and procedures, including open-heart.

“I had a tetralogy and bleeding on the brain. I’m blind in one eye, deaf in one ear. I wore braces on my legs for cerebral palsy, that’s why I say I’m a walking miracle because of what I can do,” he said.

What he lacks in some skills, such as reading and writing, Robinson makes up in others -- enthusiasm, attention to detail, eagerness to please.

Michael Robinson secndary

Environmental Services assistant Michael Robinson pushes a cart of waste to a dumpster outside of Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness. Robinson is celebrating 10 years of work at the hospital.

Hospital CEO Ralph Aleman said they are blessed to have him as part of the CMH family. “He is a hardworking, motivated individual who always wants to do his very best at any job,” Aleman said. “He is always willing to help and is greatly appreciated by all the staff.”

Four days a week, Robinson travels from the home he shares with his mom and stepdad in Lecanto to work in Inverness via the county Orange Line bus line and then takes the bus back to Lecanto in the afternoon. His mother or stepdad takes him to and picks him up from the county transit building.

He packs his own lunch or buys lunch in the hospital cafeteria on Thursdays.

“Because Thursday is my Friday,” he said. (He has Fridays off.)

“I have a checking and a savings account and a 401(k) set up through the hospital so when I’m ready to retire I’ll be set,” he said.

His mom said being employed has made him both independent and dependable.

“He’s learned his routine, how not to talk too much, that he has a job to do,” she said. “He’s learned how to hold and keep a job...and I can’t thank the people at the hospital enough for being extra caring with him.”

Robinson said he loves his job, and he also loves the Key Train Center.

“Even though I don’t work there, I’ll always be a part of it,” he said. “I’m very concerned that the Key gets the donations it needs to stay open for the people that really need it -- that’s what I want people to know, and also that it’s a proven fact that any disabled person who can overcome all that I have and still not be in a wheelchair can say, ‘Hey, disabled people can make it in this world.’ That’s why I say I’m a walking miracle.”   

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Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

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