Imagine paying thousands of dollars in medical school and starting your own private practice, just to give it all up and work for free. This may sound unreal, but that’s exactly what one Valley doctor did.

In 2012, Dr. Stephen Robinson took a leap of faith and opened Culture of Life Ministries in Harlingen, a free health clinic. 

“At first, I didn’t want to do that. It sounded crazy,” said Robinson. “Every step I took, God just met me there.”

For years, Dr. Robinson operated pop-up clinics at churches and even Loaves and Fishes, a shelter in Harlingen. 

In 2018, he moved into his own building in downtown. The building, listed well out of his budget, was donated to him. From then, Dr. Robinson was able to see his patients at one location on a more consistent basis. Now, he sees about 25 patients Monday – Friday.  Patients that may not see a doctor otherwise due to cost.

“Preventative care and care early in a disease, like diabetes or high blood pressure, is important to save lives and save your function for your future,” Robinson said. 

He says that all the medical equipment in his clinic has been donated, adding, “the generosity of this community is just amazing.”

The clinic offers several services for free including: primary care, wound care, street test, blood sugar test and most recently, lab work. 

All the work made possible by the more than 200 volunteers, many with a medical background, that lend a hand. 60 of them help out on a consistent basis. 

Many of them, like Margaret Cervantes and Marilyn Vincent, by his side since the beginning. 

“He doesn’t just see the patients. He’s so good with us. We his staff,” said Cervantes. “He takes care of us as well because there’s a lot of us that doesn’t have insurance as well.”

Vincent adds, “he’s so kind and generous and willing to help people in a way that not everyone is. He’s a man with a vision.” 

That vision goes well beyond helping people physically. With the help of chaplains, Robinson offers spiritual healing, finding power in prayer. 

“We had one lady that had cancer, breast cancer, and it was growing,” Robinson said. “We sent her with the disc of the ultrasound and we prayed before we sent her. When she got there, they couldn’t find it. It had been completely resolved.”

Robinson was nominated by Harlingen community members. If you have someone you would like to highlight for their acts of kindness in our ‘Hometown Heroes’ segment, email Nicole Hickl at or contact her through Facebook.