Teri Falcon and her daughter, Luci
Teri Falcon and her youngest daughter, Luci. (Courtesy of Teri Falcon)

Teri Falcon doesn’t quite do relaxing like most people.

Today, Teri Falcon’s leg hurts so she’s toning things down with “only” a 10-mile bike ride and “just” painting her kids’ jungle gym. Falcon doesn’t quite do relaxing like most people. She’s a veteran of the U.S. Marines, has tried her hand at a huge number of professions and loves helping people, especially in these anxiety-ridden times.

Falcon has lived locally her entire 37 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Her family has a long Detroit history: Her grandparents, who passed away in 2018 and 2019, respectively, were Louis and Joy Landau, who were very involved in the community. Her mom, Maureen Landau, who raised Teri and her sister, Heather, alone, still lives in Oak Park, as do Teri and her family. They attend Congregation Beth Shalom.

Growing up, Falcon attended Hillel and Berkley High, earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University in communications and another from Wayne State University in criminal justice. She also has her master’s in social work and is planning to get a Ph.D. in criminology. She’s not even sure if she’ll stop there.

In 2002, Falcon joined the U.S. Marines at age 19.

“Someone told me I couldn’t do it, so I set out to prove them wrong,” she said.

It was a perfect fit for Falcon, who loves structure and organization. Even the quarter deck — a notorious “punishment” of intense workout specially designed to break people — didn’t faze Falcon, who made it her personal mission to be on it more than anyone else.

Teri Falcon and her husband, Jonathan
Teri and husband, Jonathan, at Warrior Dash, a 5k “mud run.” Teri Falcon

Falcon was stationed in California, and running consistently on the California sand ended up wreaking havoc to her legs. She eventually wound up with two major fractures. After three months of intense physical therapy, she was given a generous exit strategy and retuned home with, she admits proudly, the body of a football player, thanks to all those extra quarter deck workouts.

Falcon loved being a Marine. “I learned I can do absolutely anything I put my mind to. My mom had told me that over and over, but you still don’t really know it until you experience it,” she said.

Once home, Falcon got licensed with the American Academy of Sports Medicine and became a qualified trainer. She’s created extremely popular high-intensity boot camp workouts, inspired by the quarter deck.

Jessica Naimin of Southfield, who attended Teri’s classes for two years, said, “It’s exciting to work out with a former Marine. Teri’s workouts have a military training vibe and cover all your muscle groups. Tough and very effective.”

Ironically, Falcon tore a ligament running to first base while playing softball — she doesn’t have the ACL tendon in her left leg anymore — but even that hasn’t stopped her. She opted out of surgery and continually works to build up her muscles.

Falcon has a deep-seated desire to help others. The most dramatic example was in 2015, when she rescued a baby who was hanging upside down while strapped in his car seat in an overturned SUV. (She later received a heroism plaque from the city of Oak Park.)

A true jack of all trades, there are few job descriptions Falcon hasn’t tried. She’s been an event planner, nanny, house painter, paramedic, Red Cross instructor, fitness trainer, swim instructor, marathon runner, landscaper, softball coach and wedding DJ, which is how she first met Jonathan, now her husband of 13 years.

These days, Falcon has been keeping busy with her kids Sadie, 11, and Luci, 10 months, and with her job as a clinical social worker at New Oakland Family Center. She had also been working as a mental health professional for the Macomb County jails, although she hasn’t been needed since the pandemic began because inmate population has been low.

As a survivor of sexual abuse, she finds it intriguing to be in a position that attempts to rehabilitate sex offenders and is excited to resume her jail work.

Many people are suffering from anxiety from this new and often stressful COVID-19 reality and the proof, according to Falcon, is her many new clients. Providers use telehealth these days, and Falcon’s phone rings all the time, often outside normal business hours. But she always answers. “I just want to make sure everyone is OK,” she said.