Military Mom

Published 4:30 pm Saturday, May 8, 2010

Albert Lean LoriAnne Hanson may initially seem like an average mother.

As a 44-year-old single mom, she has four adult sons — all who have attended college or who have been in the military.

She oversees maintenance at A-Lea Apartments and has lived in Albert Lea off and on for most of her life, most recently moving back to the city five or six years ago.

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What makes Hanson unique, however, is that she’s one of very few women in the area who is a military mother — meaning she herself is a member of the military and she has sons who are as well.

“I enjoy being in the military,” she said. “I like helping people and serving.”

Hanson joined the Minnesota National Guard in Austin about five years ago after her oldest son, Jonathan Marquardt, now 25, came home from Afghanistan.

“I wanted to go in when I graduated from high school, but I got married and had kids,” she said.

Since then, she has been deployed with the 2nd Battalion 135th Infantry Regiment to Kosovo in 2007 with her oldest son. And her third son, Charles Marquardt, 21, has also joined the National Guard, and he has been deployed to Iraq. He returned from there in February.

Before joining the military, Hanson said she had never traveled — in fact, she had never been on a plane until she went to basic training in Fort Jackson and then Fort Lee, where she trained to be a cook.

In Kosovo, she worked with the liaison monitoring team, working with the locals of the area and visiting schools. She said she took hundreds of pictures with the children there and made movies of the pictures. A week or two before she left, she presented each school with a movie.

She earned an Army achievement award for all her work on that project and has since achieved the specialist, or E-4 rank.

Hanson said her time in the National Guard has helped her have a better understanding of what her two sons in the military have gone through.

“The feeling of having your kids get deployed, you have to have the strength and belief — I don’t let things bother me too much,” she said. “I always think there’s a plan for everybody.”

Hanson’s other two sons, Jeffrey Marquardt, 23, and Ethan Marquardt, 19, have been involved in different interests.

“They all have different personalities,” she said.

She noted the hardest thing about being a mother is realizing that her children are all grown up.

“It happened so fast,” Hanson said. “You don’t realize it until they’re older how fast time really goes.”

She now has three grandsons and one granddaughter.

Jonathan Marquardt said he didn’t get to know his father until he was 17, so his mother “was pretty much my mom and dad” for most of his life.

“She’s always been there for us,” he said. “She’s pretty much raised me and my brothers by herself. She’s very caring about her grandchildren.”

Hanson said though she doesn’t have any specific plans for Mother’s Day, she hopes to ride her motorcycle up to New Ulm to visit her granddaughter.