Elsabe Enriches EPU! #EPU40

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”

– Winnie The Pooh

Elsabe Kruger, one of our beloved Occupational Therapists, is retiring at the end of the month. EPU is so fortunate to have had Elsabe serve countless children and families with kind compassion and tremendous talent. Her love, patience and commitment to our children and families will surely be missed. We are so proud to have had Elsabe as part of our EPU family. Read about Elsabe in this week’s edition of the #EPU40!

I am an Occupational Therapist born and raised in South Africa where I also met and married my husband. We have been happily married for 43 years and have two children who were both born in South Africa. My daughter is also an OT, she is married and lives in Kentucky. My son is a Mechanical Engineer, he is married and lives in Pennsylvania. He has a son who is 20 months old, who is the apple of “Ouma’s” eye and the tip of her hart! They’re expecting another baby in August.

I completed my OT studies in South Africa and had a private pediatric clinic for 10+ years. We have been living in the USA for 20 years now. I worked in Skilled Nursing for 12 years while we were waiting for our green cards. After we became permanent residents, I was able to pursue my dream and started my own private pediatric practice, which I had for six and a half years. Just when I felt it was time for a change, the OT position at EPU opened. I applied for the position and it was during my interview with EPU’s founder that I was convinced this is the place for me to continue my career. Coming from SA, it was not only the pictures of safari animals on the walls that identified with me, but it was the words of Marion that touched my heart. She said: “This is not an ordinary work place, EPU is a culture.” It did not take long for me to fully understand her words. EPU is indeed a very unique place to work. I was able to bring my co-worker, as well as most of the therapeutic equipment that we used in my clinic with me to EPU. I have worked at EPU now for two and a half years and always planned on staying until retirement.

The best part of my day at EPU is when I’m working with a child in the therapy gym. Every child is unique and every treatment session is unique. Nothing brings me more joy than having a child say his first word (ever!) when in the hammock, or making brief eye contact with me for the first time when on the scooter board. My first goal is always just to make the child happy. When a child is sad, I’m sad. All children deserve to be happy, and it gives me great satisfaction if I can be part in creating their happiness.

One of my best memories will always be those days when a parent tells me thank you for the difference I’ve made, or when a feeding tube can be removed because a child started eating adequately.

Although the children are the most important part of EPU, what really make one’s work situation pleasant are your co-workers. At EPU we are one big family with one goal in mind: All children are loved and valued and all parents can find safe, compassionate and non-judgmental support. At EPU, I learned that the grief of parents who have a child with special needs never ends for as long as the child lives. It takes exceptional parents to care for these children. It is a privilege to serve these families.

My hope is that EPU will go from strength to strength for many years to come.