KEARNEY, Neb. — A retired Kearney pediatrician is receiving statewide recognition.

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, which operates out of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, awarded Dr. Kenton Shaffer with its Champion Award this week. The honor recognizes outstanding service and outreach to the behavioral health community by a student, trainee or health care professional.

Shaffer started practicing in Kearney in 1974. CHI Health Good Samaritan opened the Dr. Kenton L. Shaffer Emergency Care Center in his honor in 2021.

The Nebraska legislature created BHECN in 2009. It works to recruit, train and retain behavioral health workers.

Other award winners:

Former state Sen. John Stinner, Distinguished Service Award

Robin Conyers and Dr. Cecilia Poon, Ambassador Award

Laurie Halpenny, Courage Award