A Letter of Gratitude from the Kruk Family

Dear Mr. Gruber,

Words cannot express the gratitude that my family and I have for your organization and staff. On January 26, 2021 my in-laws, Richard and Valerie Kruk were brought to Memorial Emergency Department after begin involved in a head on collision in Starke County. They are both 82 years old and were taking their recycling to town when they were hit by a 21 year old driver who slid through a stop sign going 45mph. They sustained multiple broken bones and have each had three surgeries since that terrible day.

Your team has been nothing short of amazing. I have been a nurse for 30 years and currently am the Director of the Emergency Department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. As you can imagine, there is nothing worse than the phone call that comes to notify you of the situation. I was at work when Sarah the chaplain called from the ED – she was compassionate and willing to help me get the information I needed being almost 2 hours away. When I informed her I was a nurse and health care provider, she instantly had Dr. Koenig call me to explain the extent of my mother-in-law’s injuries as well as attempt to get information on my father-in-law. He took the time to find out how my father-in-law was and called me back with the information.

As my husband and I tried to make our way to South Bend my sisters-in-law arrived and were taken in to see their dad while their mom was taken to the OR. While on your way, Dr. Neal Patel spoke with us to inform us that my father-in-law had unstable fractures in his neck and needed surgery quickly while taking the time to walk us through everything that he planned to do. He was taken to the OR at 7pm. We were allowed to wait in the waiting room on the second floor until he was done which was after 11pm. They were allowed to see both their mom and dad which gave them peace of mind to go home for the night. Without going into how challenging it is to be a family member in the time of COVID – every person that we encountered could not have been more compassionate and supportive.

Richard and Valerie have been at Memorial for almost two weeks – having spent time in the ICU and the 8th floor. I cannot list everyone’s name that has been part of their care but I would like to thank all of them. Lorraine the APP continues to call and update us on their status. Cindy the social worker has worked tirelessly to get them placed in a rehab facility and the doctors and nurses have been amazing.

The staff on 8 take my mother-in-law to see my father-in-law every day. My in-laws will be married 61 years on March 17 and thanks to your extraordinary team, they will be able to spend it together.

Since I cannot put everyone’s name in the letter – my ask would be that you share it with everyone who was part of their care team and share our gratitude and praise with them. Everyone who care for them deserves to be recognized.


Ellie Kruk