By Carrie Pitzer & Natalie Bruzon
If Terry Jensen was hoping for a quiet celebration of his 40th year in dentistry practice in Neligh, he’s in for a surprise this morning.
The staff of Dr. Terry Jensen D.D.S. is encouraging everyone to stop by the office located at 322 Main Street in Neligh and congratulate Jensen on his milestone anniversary, beginning on Monday morning. He will officially have been in business 40 years on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Jensen's staff plans to have a sign out in front of the office encouraging people to stop in and wish him well.
Dr. Tim Brovont D.D.S., who joined the Neligh Family Dentistry practice last July, said during preparations last week that the entire staff is excited for the hush-hush celebration.
“This is a nice surprise for him,” Brovont said. “He’s bent over backwards to help me out as I’ve been getting my practice up and going. Anytime I’ve needed him or had a question, he’s been here. It’s been nice to have a mentor.”
Although Jensen’s staff kept the celebration from him, they weren’t quiet when it came to Jensen himself and what he means to them.
Dawn Hixson, a dental assistant, has worked for Jensen the longest of all of the staff - 22 years. She said his patients showcase his skill. Not only does he have regulars from the area, but some patients travel from out of state to hunt and fish in the area and schedule their dental work with Jensen at the same time.
“He’s a very gentle dentist,” Hixson said. “We have patients from all over; some who have moved away and keep coming back. I’ve always enjoyed working with him.”
Jensen received his degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center Dental School in 1973 and came to Neligh in 1976. He purchased the practice from Dr. Murphy.
The office originally was above Pinnacle Bank but moved to its present location just south of the bank in 1999.
Jensen is now semi-retired and usually is in the office just two days a week. In preparation for his retirement, Jensen recruited Brovont to Neligh and has helped him in purchasing the practice.
Neligh Mayor Joe Hartz said Jensen’s desire to ensure Neligh had a dentist is a testament to his commitment to the community.
“When Terry started looking toward retirement, he worked hard to find another dentist - the right dentist - to carry on his practice,” Hartz said. “That’s the kind of guy Terry is. He’s had a great heart, is a good Christian and really cares about other people.”
That sentiment was repeated by his staff as well. Receptionist Amy Baker said Jensen, who is an avid sports fan, is supportive of the area, not just Neligh.
“He’s been in the community for 40 years and has really done a lot for the community, not just with the dentistry,” Baker said. “And not just Neligh. He’s very generous to communities in the area.”
Sheryl Baker, who joined the staff in 2014 as a dental hygienist, is one of the newest of Jensen’s employees. She reiterated his abilities as both a person and a dentist.
“Dr. Jensen is very kind and compassionate about helping others. He’s made my job into a rewarding career,” Baker said.
Jensen may be slowly stepping away from the practice, but he hasn’t stopped investing in its future. The practice is continuing to update its equipment, which is something Mayor Hartz said Jensen has always done.
“He’s very dedicated to the community and has always kept his equipment updated,” he said. “Just a few months ago, he updated more equipment. That’s because he cares so much about having great healthcare in Neligh.”
Jensen is also active in the community and serves on the Board of Directors for many organizations, including the Boy Scouts Trustees and Neligh Economic Development. He has served on the American Legion and Antelope Country Club boards.