(OTTAWA, ON) During Saturday night’s Canadian Football League game between the Montreal Alouettes and the Ottawa Redblacks, Pembroke native Derek Nighbor was recognized by the home team with a ‘wooden cookie’ for his support of the region’s forest sector and his commitment to charitable causes in Ottawa and the Valley.
The ‘wooden cookie’ is the Redblacks highest symbol of excellence and is given out at every home game to an area resident who is committed to building up the Ottawa area community. The cookie is cut from a log and branded with the team’s logo after every Redblacks touchdown.
Nighbor is a Redblacks season ticket holder and is a supporter of its fellow tenants at TD Place including the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Ottawa BlackJacks and the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67s.
Beyond his passion for local sports, Nighbor is a proud champion of the Ottawa Valley’s forest sector and is a volunteer and supporter of a number of charitable causes in the region.
Nighbor is the President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), the national voice of the forest sector and its workers across the country. His work to champion the environmental, social, and economic benefits of sustainable forestry is key supporting thousands of forestry-related jobs across Eastern Ontario and the country.
In the community, Nighbor is a long-time supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County, and the Pembroke Legion. Next month, he will be joining the Sandra Schmirler Foundation where he will raise money to buy life-saving equipment for critically ill babies at hospitals across Canada.
It was Nighbor’s recent work with Ronald McDonald House Ottawa that was showcased on the big screen at TD Place on Saturday night.
He was part of a team that secured over $12 million in federal and provincial government funding to expand Ottawa’s Ronald McDonald House by 22 rooms so more out-of-town families can stay closer to their sick children receiving treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). This much-needed expansion will grow the House from 14 to 36 rooms, serve an additional 347 families every year, and eliminate Ronald McDonald House Ottawa’s current wait list.
“Having been in the stands to see some pretty incredible people get the Redblacks wooden cookie over the past few years makes this a humbling experience,” Nighbor said. “I’ve always felt a responsibility to stand up for causes I believe in – including those that support forestry jobs that create economic opportunity in our region and those that help people who are facing some of the most difficult days they’ll likely encounter in their entire lives. The work being done by groups like Ronald McDonald House and the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew Country give people hope and save lives,” Nighbor added.
“I want to thank the Ottawa Redblacks and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group for this honour. I love Ottawa and the Valley and to share this on a beautiful night with my family and friends was pretty special. The only thing I would’ve changed is the final score,” Nighbor said.
The Alouettes ended up winning the game, scoring a touchdown with 31 seconds left on the clock, edging the Redblacks 25-24.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $73B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 205,000 direct jobs, and over 415,000 indirect jobs across the country. FPAC and its members are committed to collaborating with Indigenous leaders, federal and provincial governments, labour partners, community groups, and other rightsholders and stakeholders to secure and advance the sector’s environmental, social, and economic potential for the long-term.