"We moved to northern Virginia and I graduated from high school there," she said. "I couldn't stand the transient nature of the area. I came home after high school and got an apartment conveniently located behind my grandmother's house on the bus line."
She worked, went to school and followed her grandmother on visits to help the elderly and disabled.
Hamilton acquired a sense of adventure and numerous mechanical skills from her father, Frank "Bill" Whitlock, who died in 2008. Her mother, Edith Whitlock, instilled work ethic and manners. Hamilton now shares her St. Albans home with her mother.
From her late grandmother, Helen Hess, she acquired a love for helping others.
Hamilton has been a lifelong learner with a love for reading books that offer information on any number of subjects.
She holds an associate degree in gerontology from West Virginia State Community and Technical College, now the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College. She also has a bachelor's in health sciences with a focus on education from West Virginia State University. She is working toward a master's in adult and technical education at Marshall University.
She is an adjunct professor in the gerontology department at KVCTC. She is the mother of four grown children.
While her schedule may be hectic, she strives to take care of herself physically and spiritually.
"I believe in balance," she said. "I say I am a practicing Christian because it's something I have to work on every day. I pray and meditate before I get up."
She loves people and encourages others to take care of themselves and to learn.
She wants baby boomers to learn about insurance details and what may be covered through Medicare or Medicaid.
"Medicaid is based on income," she said. "Medicare is based on age. I want boomers to find out how it works before they need it or their parents need it."
Hamilton has learned a lot in the first year on the job and is ready to face the challenges that lie ahead. She has ideas for streamlining services, getting volunteers involved, stretching dollars, and incorporating technology to help with programs and reach more people.
"I am not overwhelmed now that I know where we stand," she said.
For more information about Kanawha Valley Senior Services, go to www.kvss.org or call 304-348-0707.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.