Growing up in a family serving the second largest ‘army’ in the world, Brent Hobden had something of a nomadic childhood.
His parents were both Salvation Army officers, and United Church pastors, which meant the family was involved in a number of transfers. Living in more than 20 communities across Canada was not conducive to establishing roots or long-term friendships.
“It was pretty rare that I went to the same school twice in a row,” said Hobden, community ministries director at the Comox Valley branch of the Salvation Army. He notes the similarity to growing up in a military household.
“When you grow up in a community, you’re born and raised in the same community, you usually have some pretty deep roots. It’s different from my perspective because I don’t look at having a whole lot of friends. I can go right across the country in all of the different communities I’ve lived in, there is two or three people that I can remember from my entire childhood that I would look back and say, ‘They were my friend.’ Most of the people I look back at as friends are in the Salvation Army still…It gave me a very, very strong dependency on my family. We’re extremely close.”
He is constantly on the phone with his three brothers and three sisters, who mostly live on the prairies but nevertheless gather each year for family reunions.
Before coming to the Valley at the start of 2010, Hobden had been stationed in Port Alberni, St. John, N.B. and Calgary.
He has been married 27 years to his wife Deborah. They celebrated their 25th anniversary in a hot air balloon, and spent two weeks in Mexico. For their 30th, he is hoping for a Mediterranean cruise.
“A lot of my passion, a lot of my life is spent in biblical studies and in profession of faith. So I’m thinking, ‘What an awesome opportunity if we could see some of the places in the Holy Lands where Christ actually lived.’ I just think it would be so much fun.”
The couple has three grown children, who have left home but have remained on the Island.
“It’s been quite a transition,” said Hobden, the proud owner of two Yorkshire terriers.
In his spare time, Hobden loves skiing and snowshoeing.
“I have a ski pass. As many opportunities as I can, I’m up on the mountain doing that.”
At home, he enjoys woodworking and stained glass art. The latter is a new interest.
“It helps the creative side of course, but when you have an opportunity to just forget about absolutely everything else, this is just me working away, and being creative and something that I can be proud of. And having a lot of fun doing it…It’s very involved, takes a lot of time.”