So many of us here in Lake Nona come from different places and have different stories of how we wound up in the Nonahood. No two stories are the same, with each comprised of individuals making the choice to pick up and move from another part of Florida, another state, or even another country. This is How We Got Here, telling stories one at a time of how different families from all different walks of life ended up in Lake Nona.
The Hahn Family, made up of Mark, Jaimee, Allison (19), Kelsey (12), Keaton (9), and Mandy, the family’s seven-year-old Dalmatian, have resided in the Nonahood since 2005 after moving here from a small town just outside of Salt Lake City. Jaimee works in the emergency department at ORMC and Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, and she and Mark have been married 22 years. Mark is a ramp supervisor for Southwest Airlines, where he has been for 19 years.
Check out our conversation with the family below!
NHN: When did you come to Lake Nona and what brought you here?
JH: Our family moved to Lake Nona in 2005 from a small town outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, when Southwest Airlines said they needed Mark’s help here at MCO. We moved here when most of this area was still weeds and raccoon hideouts. We chose Lake Nona because of its proximity to the airport and the highly rated elementary school (NorthLake Park). At the time, we only had a 5-year-old.
NHN: What does your daily life look like?
JH: Currently, our daily life consists of getting out the door for school on time, then after school is piano practicing for both kids, softball practice for Kelsey, probably squeeze in some fishing for the boy with a one-track mind. Throughout the week, we will go to Boy Scouts, Ninja zone, flag football, and piano lessons for Keaton. Kelsey has softball practice twice a week, youth night at our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Lake Nona Ward), piano lessons, and usually a ball game or two on Saturday depending on the week. We have church services on Sunday, then we prepare for another week of the same.
NHN: What are your favorite hobbies?
JH: My hobbies are spending time with my family traveling and having lots of fun. Working for a fantastic airline, my husband has access to great benefits for travel, so we take full advantage of them. We have enjoyed seeing many parts of the globe. I love going on cruises with my family. Other hobbies I have are playing the piano, playing or watching my kids play sports, making crafts, camping, watching movies (then quoting the movie lines). We are die-hard Harry Potter and Star Wars nerds.
NHN: What is the most memorable trip that you have taken?
JH: Our favorite places have been Thailand (three times, my husband was a missionary for our church there, so he is fluent in Thai, Laotian, and Isaan) and New Zealand, Russia, and London/Paris, Austria/Germany, Costa Rica. Generally, we take global trips as a family despite the crooked glances we get by taking toddlers and small kids on extensively long flights. They are good fliers. My kids loved New Zealand – it really is a place like no other. I have been to 39 countries, so it is difficult to choose. The Caribbean nations are fun as well. We try to make fun memories everywhere we go, so we are full of funny stories. Snakes falling from the roof, feeding elephants, swimming with dolphins, random animals climbing in our car, strange food, etc. We still need to make it to Africa. My husband wants to do a great white shark cage-diving experience in South Africa and also see Hong Kong and the Great Wall, and I would like to see the pyramids of Giza. The kids have their own ideas as well. My son, the amateur biologist, wants to go to Central America to see harpy eagles in the wild, and Kelsey wants to see the cherry blossoms in Japan. All of these are on the list of places to visit.
NHN: What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you? The most interesting?
JH: I think the craziest thing that has ever happened to me, personally, was being one of the first nurses to care for the Pulse shooting victims. I am honored to have been part of that team, and I am proud of the work we did that night. I think the most interesting thing was being a guest at Kennedy Space Center in their space medicine course – in the event of a space disaster, NASA could have civilian medical personnel trained. I and a few of my coworkers were able to go inside the Vehicle Assembly Building and go behind the scenes. It was fascinating for a science nerd like myself.
NHN: Tell me a little bit more about your experience at Kennedy Space Center. That sounds awesome!
JH: The KSC experience was amazing. It was called the Spaceflight Medical Support training course. It was comprised of physicians, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and paramedics from bigger Central Florida hospitals. NASA wanted to a have group of medical personnel trained on how to properly get a sick or injured astronaut out of the space suit and to anticipate their needs after being in space (there are many effects of being weightless). We got to hang out with a Black Hawk helicopter and a bunch of astronauts and NASA doctors and engineers. I was selected to participate by my management team at Orlando Health – I guess they knew I would behave myself and give ORMC a good reputation, as well as really enjoying it. They were right. I loved every second.
NHN: What is your favorite part about the Nonahood?
JH: I think one of my favorite things about Lake Nona is the people. I mentioned to Mark a little while back that it is so nice to be established and know the people that we do business with, and how they can become our friends. For example, my favorite place to eat is Larry’s Giant Subs (YEAH!!!). I have come to be good friends with the owners and enjoy seeing them when it is time for a sandwich. (I recommend the Ultimate or the Mighty Mitch.) Having people at the schools and other local businesses that know me and I can wave and say hello is nice. It’s like a small town within a big one. Also, I love how close we are to the airport.
NHN: If you could tell one thing to a person or family considering moving to Lake Nona, what would that be?
JH: Lake Nona is a wonderful place to live; we have been enjoying it since 2005. Although, I don’t recommend trying to drive southbound on Narcoossee between 5-6:30 p.m.
Would you like to share your story of how you got here? Please fill out this online form: forms.nona.media/how-we-got-here or send an email to Vanessa@nonahoodnews.com with a brief summary of why your family moved to Lake Nona. We’ll be in touch.