Theresa Santmann found herself in a world far from the farm of her youth in Ellenburg, New York. Despite the fact that she had a husband with ALS, two very young children, and no way to care for her family and pay the mounting bills, she rose to an unusual challenge. She found a four-apartment rental property in Babylon, New York and turned it into an adult home, the Little Flower Residence, where her husband became her first patient. She returned to school for nursing and began a new life that changed the lives of everyone around her.
Theresa’s resourcefulness led her to becoming a registered nurse. She was the first woman in New York State to obtain an FHA-backed loan to build a 160-bed nursing home, with only a woman’s name on the application. She operated one of the most successful nursing homes on Long Island, invented and patented a unique walker, became an airplane pilot, and so much more.
One of her more daring escapades was overcoming a navigational challenge with her disabled husband and two young children on board their thirty-seven-foot boat, Wicky One, from her home in Babylon to Canada. She plotted the course through the waterways; Fire Island inlet, west in the Atlantic Ocean, up the Hudson River, past West Point, and beyond. Soon there was another challenge, the locks that she had never navigated nor witnessed. She managed till finally there it was, Lake Champlain.