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CARES: Cutting-edge program links city’s most vulnerable citizens with primary care services.

The Stephenville Fire Department embarked on an ambitious program in 2022 aimed at helping improve the lives of residents through a community paramedicine program called CARES (Community Assistance Resource Education System).

Steven Jacobsen is the CARES team coordinator who was recruited to Stephenville five years ago to begin building the program.

Now, after a year of operations, Jacobsen is reflecting on the difference the program is making in the community and in the lives of its citizens.

“Community paramedicine has been around for about 20 years, but it’s mostly seen in larger cities,” he told Beneath the Surface News.

But the program flourishes in more rural settings like Stephenville by connecting the city’s most vulnerable citizens with primary care services.

The CARES program is offered at no cost to patients through grants and city funding.

Most of the people the CARES team works with are those that community resource paramedics come into contact with through 9-1-1- calls.

“We’re proud to offer this type of cutting-edge program to a community of our size,” Jacobsen said. “Our community resource paramedics represent the future of pre-hospital care by working to prevent illness and injuries.”

More than 60 local patients were helped this year alone.

One patient was a woman in her mid-40s dealing with a host of chronic issues.

“She couldn’t walk, so she sat most of the day and that led to depression and anxiety,” Jacobsen said. “She wanted to walk and start going to church again.”

CARES helped turn her life around.

Today, she is walking, taking her medications routinely, making regular visits to her doctor and going to church.

The program also works to address issues like food insecurity and offers classes on fall prevention, installing smoke detectors, water and babysitting safety and disaster preparedness.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the CARES program, referrals can be made by calling 254-977-3827 or emailing


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