Retired Air Force colonel, 93, crafts walking sticks to help community



A 93-year-old retired Air Force colonel has turned a hobby into a helping hand for those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

John Hobson whittles walking sticks, which he sells for $3 each from the end of the driveway in the 1100 block of East Spring Valley Paintersville Road near Xenia, where he lives with the family of one of his four sons. Proceeds go to the Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry.

“He’s made over a hundred and donated to date about $650 bucks to the food pantry,” his son Mark Hobson said.

Another son who lives in Kentucky has been supplying the sticks. Just on Thursday evening, he brought over a load of 40 more sticks.

“He can’t wait to get his hands on those,” Hobson said.

John Hobson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1947. He was among the first academy graduates to take a commission with newly formed U.S. Air Force, his son Mark Hobson said. He served 22 years before he retired as a colonel. During his military career, he was stationed twice at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Age doesn’t slow down John Hobson, who wants to keep active. In the summer he helps with his son’s garden. Last year, he made personalized walking sticks for his grandchildren, who number 13, Mark Hobson said.

He is a great friend of this Pantry!!

Posted by Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry on Thursday, December 10, 2020

This summer, he started whittling walking sticks for sale to donate the proceeds to the food pantry.

Typically, he would make between $30 and $40 a day — most people donate more than $3 to buy the walking stick, Mark Hobson said.

“Today we sold $200 worth,” he said on Thursday.

This follows national coverage by FOX News after John Hobson’s grandson Rob Hobson, one of Mark Hobson’s nephews, shared a photo of John Hobson standing with his sign and basket of walking sticks showing how he is helping the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Since then and with the help of social media, a lot more people know about John Hobson and his hobby.

“We’re going to make that food pantry some money,” Mark Hobson said. “And he’s thrilled. He’s enjoying it.”

The retired colonel has sold out of his walking sticks. As he makes more son Mark Hobson said they will be placed at the end of the driveway. In the meantime, is granddaughter Jenny Dene created a GoFundMe fundraiser so that those who want can still help the food pantry.

“While you may not be able to snatch up a coveted walking stick, you can still donate to John’s cause here. All proceeds will go directly to the Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry,” she wrote. “Thank you all for your kindness and generosity, our grandfather is thrilled by all the attention on his walking sticks and can’t wait to make more!”

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