By Angela Higginbotham

Former high school sweethearts Travis and Kayla Hamilton enjoy living in the Mandarin neighborhood of Ramsgate. Originally from the small town of Auburn, Ind., Travis Hamilton joined the United States Navy a year after his high school graduation. Kayla Hamilton later moved to the Jacksonville area to be near him and to attend Florida State College at Jacksonville. After four deployments, mostly to Japan, the couple makes every effort to stay grounded and take nothing for granted. The Hamiltons now have two children, aged two and four years old. They are happy to be raising their children in the Mandarin area.

Kayla Hamilton answered these questions on behalf of the family:

Affordable Water


  • What’s your favorite thing about living in Mandarin?


The family oriented atmosphere and the close knit community. The area is accessible to everything we need. It’s a clean and safe place for families.

  1. You decorated your home for your husband’s latest return from deployment. Can you tell us about that?

Travis has three more years at NAS Jacksonville, then he plans to continue his career in education. Since this was his last deployment, I really wanted to go all out for his welcome home. My mom came down from Indiana and helped me with the yard. We planted nice flowers and had a banner made with photos. The kids helped, too. We put flags in pots and our son helped pick out the balloons to decorate with.

  1. What do you feel is the hardest part about deployment for your family? Were there any special traditions that you carried on while your husband was away?

I’d say communication was always the hardest part for us. Even using Skype, keeping the day-to-day connection is difficult. It’s easy to get in our own routines and then the conversation pretty much stays the same each day we’d talk.

We had a 30 day countdown until Travis’ arrival day. The kids got a Hershey’s Kiss “from Daddy” each day until his arrival. We have always had Friday night movies and pizza in the living room, and we continued that while Travis was away

  1. What do you try most to not take for granted now that Travis is back home?

We try hard not to take touching or hugging for granted. We really miss that when he’s gone.

  1. What does your family enjoy doing most for fun family time together?

Just spending time together in general. We like to have our family come to visit us pretty often. We all go down to Disney World and Universal Studios. Travis really craved pizza when he was gone, so we eat a lot of pizza these days.

Photo courtesy Kayla Hamilton

The Hamilton Family

  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Legends of Real Estate call Kim Kessler
  • Harbor Chase Independent & Assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Immerse yourself in a rewarding community that enriches your body, mind, and soul.
  • Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member
  • Lori Hershey for School Board, District 7. A school system we can all believe in.
  • Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • Mobile Notary Service. 15 years experience, 24 hour services
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021