Dr. Paul Schmidt is right where he wants to be — serving Glen Rose and area residents.

After having his independent medical practice for 21 years at Glen Rose Medical Center, Schmidt has partnered with Lakeside Physicians. He opened his new clinic at 507 SW Big Bend Trail, Suite J, on March 5. It’s open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

“Lakeside Physicians offered me the opportunity to work for them, and move to this office, which has more exam rooms, a lab for drawing blood and state-of-the-art equipment. So I can offer a lot more to my patients now than I could before,” said Schmidt, who is originally from Fort Worth where he graduated from Eastern Hills High School in 1975.

Schmidt, 61, was accepted into the charter class of the Texas A&M Medical School in 1977, and graduated in 1981. He served his internship and residency for three years at the University of South Alabama, but the Lone Star State was calling his name.

“I missed the accent and the attitudes. I just wanted to come back to Texas,” Schmidt said.

He had earned a scholarship through the National Health Service Corps, which is a uniformed branch of the military. Those scholarships were designed to get physicians to work in underserved areas.

Schmidt picked Sour Lake, a town of about 1,500 people, 20 miles outside of Beaumont.

“They had no permanent doctor there,” Schmidt explained.

Schmidt said he was voted South Lake Citizen of the Year during his time there, and served for three years on the Sour Lake School Board. Seven years later, he accepted an invitation to join a medical group in Beaumont.

In about 1987, Schmidt’s parents moved to de Cordova Bend Estates, a gated community in Hood County near Granbury. His brother, Jim Schmidt, moved there soon after that.

That set the stage for his move to Somervell County.

“My parents and brother were here (in the next county). Everything was right,” Schmidt said of that move. “It had a better climate, better schools and was closer to my parents. And it was built around a family practice with a hospital attached to the office.”

Schmidt decided to move to Glen Rose with his wife Lisa and two daughters, Erika and Maria. Lisa died in 2009 and Maria died last year.

Schmidt’s first day at Glen Rose Medical Center was Jan. 6, 1997.

“When I came here to Glen Rose, I was in a partnership with three other doctors,” Schmidt said. “Eventually, I was the only one left, in 2007.

“Before I went to work for Lakeside Physcians, I was the last independent physician in Glen Rose. The majority of doctors now work for hospitals, because of the greater resources.”

Schmidt isn’t interested in living or working in a bigger city.

“What I like about rural medicine is that you get to treat everything,” Schmidt said, noting that some doctors prefer focusing on a narrow spectrum of medicine. “A lot of times, specialists are talking in a language people can’t understand, and a family practice doctor can put it into terms that are easier to understand. No one knows the patient like the primary care physician who can put things into perspective.”

Schmidt has observed the many positive aspects of working in a small town like Glen Rose.

“Because it’s a small town, people care about each other,” said Schmidt, who married his current wife Celeste, a former Houston school teacher, on Aug. 15, 2010.

Two full-time nurse practitioners, Glen Rose native Leslie Ross along with south Fort Worth resident Cristal Hall, work in the clinic. There are also four nurses, three receptionists and an office manager.