Nearly two years after the disappearance and murder of Tim Bosma, the charity his wife set up to honor him announced it has obtained official charitable status in Hamilton, Ont.
Sharlene Bosma set up Tim’s Tribute to help other families of homicide victims, especially those who may not have an existing community of support. When Tim died, Sharlene received much support from Ancaster (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church, where they were members. “When something happens, the people in the church just step up,” said Tim’s sister, Michelle DenBak. “But not everyone has that [support], so this provides an opportunity for those people.”
Denbak, a member of Covenant CRC in nearby St. Catharines, serves as treasurer on the volunteer leadership team of Tim's Tribute. Sharlene is the charity’s chair, and Tim’s friend Brad Bootsma is secretary. Bootsma and Tim’s parents also attend Ancaster CRC.
Tim’s Tribute helps families in financial need, receiving applications through its website and through referrals from Hamilton Police Victim Services. But it has expanded its original goal to also help survivors cope with the anxiety, depression, and other mental health difficulties following a trauma. Sharlene and other family members benefited from that kind of mental health support, so when that grief counseling service was discontinued, Tim’s Tribute picked up the task. The program, called The Healing Tree, is a 12-week group program where survivors can share their stories and work through their grief and anger with the facilitation of a psychologist.
DenBak said the connection made with other families walking through the same kinds of experiences also helps participants know what to expect when their loved ones' case goes to trial.
In May 2013, Tim Bosma left with two men to test drive the truck he was trying to sell. He never returned. A week later, police found his body. The two men have been charged with first-degree murder and are scheduled to be tried in January 2016. On the Tim’s Tribute website, Bosma notes that prior to May 2013, she was “a regular mom and wife, working full time in an administrative position.” Now she is working to help other survivors in memory of Tim.
Tim’s Tribute has raised about $65,000 from individual donors and several charitable events, including an annual golf tournament.