"I feel like I'm representing all of the employees that work here and participate in all of the programs that this institute offers to our families," she said.
If she is, she's a good representative for an award that celebrates the highest qualities in UNMC employees. Kruger, a member of the physical therapy department, has worked at UNMC for approximately 30 years at University and Clarkson Hospitals and most recently at MMI.
Over the years, she has become the physical therapy department's "go-to" person for advice regarding seating, positioning and mobility-type equipment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"Ann Kruger never ceases to amaze me with her relentless pursuit of excellence in the lives of our patients," said Brad Corr, D.P.T., one of her nominators. "There is no fiercer advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities than Ann."
Department director Sandy Willett agrees, saying Kruger's contributions extend beyond MMI to JP Lord School.
"Ann serves these children with a sense of commitment and enthusiasm that is unparalleled," Willett said.
A certified assistive technology practitioner, Kruger also directs the Creighton University physical therapy students in an annual "wheelchair wash" for JP Lord School. This serves a dual purpose: a practical cleaning of chairs, as well as a training exercise for prospective physical therapy students who care for individuals with development disabilities.
At MMI, Kruger developed a prototype for power mobility for children with limited mobility and furthered this effort with the national GoBabyGo! Program, in which -- in collaboration with UNL and UNO engineering students -- MMI provides modified ride-on cars for kids with developmental disabilities.
Kruger said her passion is working with children and the families to decipher their mobility needs, with the goal of getting children mobile as early as possible.
She said MMI has nurtured that passion.
"They've allowed me to grow, and they've supported me in my ideas and desires to participate in different activities."
That support, she said, includes not only the PT department but through collaboration between MMI's many different departments.
"It's hard to describe, the affirmation one gets for working here," she said. "Affirmation for performing jobs at a standard we're supposed to, but then also allowing us to reach further, to do new activities or promote different programs.
"It's amazing," she said.
A long deserved award for an amazing therapist and person/ friend !!! (And to think we had to beg her to come!) <3 MQ