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Profile 3 - Tom Wightman

.By Anne Ginn with photography by Bernard Clark

For Tom Wightman, experiences are always fun, the passions of others are always fascinating, and opportunities are always exciting. Words such as “neat,” “fun” and “interesting” are common in Tom’s vocabulary, and his energy and curiosity are contagious. His desire to support others, his passion for higher education, as well as his willingness to try new things are the qualities that have made him a quiet pillar of many of Kingston’s charitable projects and a constant advocate for community involvement.

The youngest of four children, Tom grew up in a tight-knit family where education was valued and independence and adventure encouraged. Tom spent his early years in Napanee, where his father, Hank, owned the Napanee Post-Express — a newspaper which Hank eventually sold to the Napanee Beaver when the family moved to Ottawa in the mid-1960s.

Hank had a clear influence on Tom’s understanding of others and was a model of community involvement. As a polio survivor, Hank used crutches his entire adult life; despite his father’s apparent physical limitations, Tom never saw his father as disabled or incapable of fully participating in all the activities of life. Tom maintains the same perspective of others and does not see disability, whether physical or circumstantial, as limiting or dividing. . . .

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