Nebraska family doesn't take Florida's amenities for granted


Travis Anderson has an unusual form of transportation for Suntree Elementary School pickup of daughter Alexa.

photo by linda wiggins

Up to a dozen golf carts sit waiting for their passengers each day out front of Suntree Elementary School, but dad Travis Anderson rolls up on four wheels with a different mode of transportation for daughter Alexa, 6, another skateboard tucked under his arm. 

After just two weeks, the younger natural athlete mastered many of the moves and the pair inspired the rest of the family into joining them, with skateboards of their own arriving for Christmas. 

“It just seemed like the thing to do around here,” said Anderson, a new-ish Suntree resident. “My wife and I grew up in Nebraska and there is no pavement to skate on, just dirt, gravel and farms.” 

The family moved to Suntree three years ago, stopping off in Peoria, Ill. for two years for Anderson's first job since getting his master's degree in health care. Natalie and Travis met as students at the University of Nebraska in 2008, married in 2009 and will celebrate eight years this summer. 

Travis moved the family here to take a job at Holmes Regional Medical Center as a perfusionist, working the heart-lung machine for open heart surgery. 

Natalie stays home with the couple's three daughters, which also include Brooklyn, 5, and Charlee, 16 months. She helps out at Suntree United Methodist School where Brooklyn attends VPK and Charlee will follow into preschool. 

While Anderson works outside the home, Natalie toils inside as the momager, focusing on organizing the modeling and acting careers for everyone in the family, requiring much toil on the road locally and across Central Florida. 

The Andersons are a poster family for everything Suntree/Viera has to offer, and they never take a moment for granted. Both were state-level champion athletes in their respective sports and now focus their efforts on developing their children's athletic prowess. 

“It's a great area for families,” Travis Anderson said. “I have talked to some people who lived here and they called it Mel-boring. I've never been bored. Plenty to do, plenty of activities for the kids to do. In addition to gymnastics and other extracurricular activities you can do anywhere, they get lots of natural amenities, the Indian River Lagoon, close to the beach, surfing, swimming and golf year round.” 

Travis and Alexa won first place in 2015 at the Suntree Country Club tournament for first place Father Daughter Team. 

Grandpa Don Schaller in Cocoa Beach has a canoe, so the family goes out on the canals and explores the islands. 

For even more excitement, there is Central Florida an hour's drive away. 

“We go over, have SeaWorld passes, Disney. It's literally everything we could want to do. It's like we're on a permanent vacation. We go home to Nebraska for visits, but the vacation doesn't start until we get back home.” 

The family is growing on the installment plan. Alexa was born in Nebraska, Brooklyn was born in Illinois and Charlee was born in Melbourne. 

“That's practically international where we come from,” Anderson said. “We'll be keeping Suntree Elementary in business for many years to come.”