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    Halloween magic! Cal Guard Airman writes children's stories about Salem's spooky monsters

    Halloween magic!  Cal Guard Airman writes children's stories about Salem's spooky monsters

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kristian Hanson signs a book at Biz Bash, a vendor craft fair...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Hill 

    California National Guard Primary   

    Sacramento, Calif - The October streets in Salem, Massachusetts are crowded as people make their way to Salem common, a large park that is the scene for Biz Bash 2022. Vendors sell handmade art, crafts, and apparel, as people move between rows of tables and booths looking for the perfect spooky accessories for the upcoming Halloween season.

    In the crisp autumn air, one man bends over his table signing one of the many colorful children's books laid across the surface. Their glossy surfaces shimmer in the mid-morning sun. On the cover, a werewolf howls at the moon as witches fly above cobblestones.

    “All the universal monsters are here,” he tells people as they stop to admire his table.

    By the end of the day, the books are almost gone, and the young author will begin his long journey back to California, to his family, and back to the California National Guard.

    U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kristian Hanson had a busy weekend selling his books, plushies, and toys at Salem’s Annual Biz Bash. Hanson, commander of the 163rd Force Support Squadron, 163rd Attack Wing, based out of March Air Force Base, has two books published and a third to be released November 2022.

    While the young Airman has always had a love of writing as a child, he found his hobby particularly therapeutic after deployments to Iraq, where he served as a prison guard and during his activations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Over the last 15 years I’ve kind of realized that maybe writing was my way of therapy,” he said.

    Hanson began his career as a base network controller in 2002 as an enlisted Airmen and later transitioned to security forces shortly before deploying to Iraq in 2006-2007 where he was stationed at Camp Bucca.

    Hanson’s deployment was challenging, working as a prison guard was stressful, and the base was under mortar attacks at times. He realized how important writing was to deal with his stress as he transitioned home.

    “I had PTSD, I just didn’t know it, and writing was kind of my escape to get things out of my head and be creative.”

    In March 2019, at the age of 32, Hanson decided to make another career change, and applied to become an officer after reaching the rank of Master Sergeant, despite being one month shy of the age cut-off.

    “The worst they could say is say no.” he said.

    His gamble paid off and he commissioned as an officer that month. Hanson believes his enlisted career has also helped him sympathize and understand how to manage his troops, he said. Essential experience that would help him while he was activated during COVID-19 for the mortuary affairs mission at LA County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office in 2021 and 2022.

    “If I had nightmares, I would come into shift and talk about them. Because I figured if I talked about my nightmares or the issues I’m dealing with, it would help them open up as well,” he said.

    Service members with the California National Guard were activated to support the county in casket building for crematoriums, sanitizing workstations, and aiding county staff in caring for the deceased.

    Hanson worked the mission in 2021 and when he got the phone call asking to be the officer-in-charge for the mission in 2022, he didn’t hesitate to accept the position.

    “I already knew what to expect, and I didn’t think it was fair to send someone who had never done that job before,” he said. “Mentally I knew I could handle it, and I knew how to deal with it.”

    With several difficult missions under his belt, Hanson once again turned to writing to process his emotions.

    “I told my wife I wanted to write something that made kids happy.”

    In January 2021 he an idea formed in his mind, and he spent 20 minutes in his office writing the story before showing his wife, Jessica.

    “She said this is actually really good.”

    Hanson’s first book, “All Hallows' Eve in Salem," centers on a fictionalized version of Salem, where all the famous monsters like Dracula, the wolfman, and an assortment of witches go to live because that’s where they’re accepted for who they are.

    His second book, ‘Building our Main Street,” focuses on dealing with the loss of a loved one. Told through the eyes of a young girl who’s lost her grandmother, the girl’s mother talks to her about her life and death.

    For Hanson though, the best part of his books is the togetherness they bring to people and their families.

    “I love the fact that people are taking my stories and they’re able to sit down with their son or daughter and just have quality time together, they’re not in front of a screen, they’re with a book,” he said.

    “I’ve had multiple people tell me that whenever their kid sees Wolfy in the pages, they howl, and that just makes me so happy.”



    Date Taken: 10.31.2022
    Date Posted: 11.01.2022 17:22
    Story ID: 432445
    Location: SACRAMENTO, CA, US 
    Hometown: LOS ANGELES, CA, US

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    Downloads: 0