2013 Distinguished Alumni Press Release

Contact Bethany Kendrick, Director Public Relations
Labette Community College | (620) 820-1212

LCC Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Announced

Labette Community College announces that the 5th Annual Distinguished Alumni Award recipients for 2013 are: Keith Shaffer of Altamont, KS, Alice Beachner of Parsons, KS, Sharon Brown of Parsons, KS, and Kanak Patel of Parsons, KS. The Distinguished Alumni Award was developed by the Foundation and Alumni Association Board of Labette Community College to honor alumni of LCC that have proved to be successful individuals within their communities, careers, and families. The recipients for 2013 will be honored at a luncheon on May 10th, 2013, and at commencement that evening.

These four individuals are all alumni of LCC and have accomplished many great things in the years following their time at the college. The following biographies give insight to how they have made an impact on whom and whatever they are involved in and why they are deserving of this award.

Keith L. Shaffer, a 2013 Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni distinguished alumni award recipient, attended Labette Community College in 1973. After LCC, Keith attended Kansas State University graduating in 1978 with a degree in business.

Keith has spent much of his adult working life owning and operating a family farming operation, Shaffer Agriculture Services, which he now runs with his son Bryson. He’s also built a successful career in banking and insurance. He previously served as an insurance agent for Farm Bureau, a Senior Vice President at Labette Bank, and as the Agency Manager for Labette Insurance. Currently he is a consultant for Shaffer Financial Services LLC and Clemens Insurance Agency.

Community involvement and service has always been important to Keith. He is the fire chief for Altamont and Mount Pleasant Volunteer Fire Departments. He is a member of the Altamont Jaycees, the Labette County 911 System, and the Labette County Fire Chiefs Association. He is the Secretary/Treasurer for the Labette County Extension Foundation Inc. and has served as the Labette County Fair assistant livestock superintendent.

Keith’s contributions and longevity in Labette County has granted him with many honors including Local VFW Firefighter of the Year in 2010, Altamont Lions Club Community Service award in 2012, Parsons Kiwanis community service award in 2003, and Labette County Commissioners Service award in 2007. Although Keith has received numerous honors from local organizations, he said his biggest honor is having his wife of 38 years and his son Bryson and daughter-in-law Jamie stand beside him every day!

Keith and his wife, Janell, are Altamont residents and had a daughter Kara, who is deceased and a grown son Bryson Shaffer.

Alice Beachner, a 2013 Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni distinguished alumni award recipient, graduated from Parsons Junior College, now known as Labette Community College, in 1962.

Alice was born in Parsons and graduated from Galesburg High School in 1960. While attending Parsons Junior College, she was yearbook queen in 1962. During her time at the junior college, she worked at Superior School Supply.

Alice is a life-long learner who places education as a top priority. In the 1980s Alice graduated from Pittsburg State University with a degree in Paralegal Studies. She then graduated from Floral Design School in Lawrence, Kansas in the 1990s. After graduating Alice worked at Slane’s Floral Shop in Parsons.

Spurred by a desire to serve her community, Alice has been a part of many local boards and activities. She’s provided leadership to the LCC Foundation & Alumni Association Board and the LCC Pathways to the Future Capital Campaign Committee. She’s also served on the Parsons Arts and Crafts Fair Board, the Parsons Community Concert Board, the Labette Health Foundation Board, the Proud Animal Lovers Shelter Board, and the St. Vincent dePaul Board. She’s also participated in a Ladies Investment Club, and enjoys playing Bridge at Parsons Senior Center. She attends St. Patrick’s Catholic Church of Parsons where she is a circle leader and attends Bible studies.

Alice takes pleasure in traveling, reading, caring for pets, going to the movies, flower gardening, fine dining, and numerous volunteer jobs. She enjoys spending time at Lake Farlington and Grand Lake with family and friends and stays busy attending many of her 13 grandchildren’s athletic events and activities.

Alice and her husband Corky have five children. Her children include Gary and wife Kim of Parsons, Marcia Gard and her husband Jeff of St. Paul, Lynda Banwart and husband Chris of Joplin, MO, Julie Page and her husband Mike of Erie, and Carrie Beachner of Overland Park.

Sharon Stewart Brown was born and grew up in Parsons, Kansas to Wilson and Betty Stewart. She attended Douglass School and graduated in 1968 from Parsons Senior High School. She then went on to obtain her Associate of Arts and Associate of Nursing from Labette Community College in 1972. She attended Pittsburg State University and obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1978. Sharon received the Minority Student Scholastic Scholarship Award from the University of Kansas where she graduated in 1982 with her Masters in Social Work Administration.

Sharon began her professional career as a Graduate Nurse at KU Medical Center in their Burn Unit in 1972. She was very familiar with the hospital and their outstanding services based on her experience as one of their patients. In 1955, when she was a child, she was caught in a house fire that caused over 75% of her body to be burned. This personal experience as a child propelled her to seek careers that could help change people lives and be a role model. Being part of the hospital personally and professionally she wanted to explore other opportunities and sought careers in the social services areas, becoming a Child Protection Services Worker in 1978.

Through years of hard work and having a flare for being personable she was promoted several times and eventually became the Director of Disability Determination Services for the State of Kansas where she lived in Lawrence, Kansas. As the Director of Disability she received several outstanding distinguished awards for Public Services Award from the State of Kansas, Regional Commissioner Citation Award and Outstanding Performance Award.

During her time in Lawrence, Sharon was involved in community activities like serving on the Lawrence Human Relations Commissioner Board for three years and the Mayor’s Gang Task Force as appointed by the Lawrence City Mayor. Sharon was also the Program Director on the CASA Executive Board in Topeka, Kansas, and served on the Social Work Advisory Board for the University of Kansas and University of Washburn.

Sharon returned to Parsons seven years ago to assist her mother and sister in caring for her terminally ill father. Despite this, she still continues her commitment to her community. She is an active member of Rotary, board member of Parsons Area Community Foundation, member of God’s Leading Ladies, board member of Respite Care, and the Parsons Community Service Fund.

Sharon was a former Adjunct Faculty Instructor at Washburn University from 1998-2004 and the University of Kansas from 2002-2004, and most recently teaching during the fall semester of 2012 at Labette Community College.

She is currently the Medication Assistance Program Director at Labette Health. Sharon is the proud mother of daughter, Sheena Koehn and two wonderful grandchildren London, age 18 and Nathan, age 15 who live in Lawrence, Kansas.

Kanak Patel, a 2013 Labette Community College Foundation and Alumni Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, earned two degrees from LCC. In 1995, he was awarded an Associate Degree in Mathematics and in 1998, he obtained an Associate Degree in Network Administration.

While attending LCC, Kanak was very active in student life activities. He served as an officer of the Student Government Association, participated in the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) business club and participated in the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. Kanak’s leadership and business skills were demonstrated more than ever through his involvement with the PBL club. He served in officer roles and earned several awards at state and national competitions.

After earning his degree from LCC, Kanak transferred to Pittsburg State University and graduated with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Information Systems.

Kanak has been employed by Commercial Bank since 1992. While attending college he worked as a courier, a teller, and he performed the bank’s nightly processing. After completing college, he began working full time in the Information Technology department. Over the years, he has been promoted and is currently the Vice President in charge of Operations and IT for Commercial Bank.

Community involvement is a priority for Kanak. He is a graduate of Leadership Parsons, is a past member of the Leadership Parsons Board of Directors, serves on the Parsons Chamber of Commerce Board and he has been a member of the Parsons Lions club for 10 years, where he currently serves as treasurer. Kanak also provides valuable input by serving on the Labette Community College Information Technology advisory committee.

Kanak and his wife, Aasha, have been married for 16 years and have two children, a son, Shaan and daughter, Aashka.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Award or to nominate someone for next year, please contact, Lindi Forbes, Executive Director of Alumni and Foundation at LCC, at (620) 820-1212 or by e-mail at lindif@labette.edu.

Nominate Someone

To nominate someone please send a letter and brief biography to:

Labette Community College Alumni Association
200 South 14th Street
Parsons, KS 67357

Or use the:
Online Nomination Form

If you have questions, please e-mail Lindi Forbes, Executive Director of the Alumni Association, or call (620) 421-6700, ext. 1212.