City Home > News

2020 Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award

by Colleen Paveglio
Monday, December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020 - The City of Traverse City’s Human Rights Commission is proud to honor Tom Bousamra as the 2020 Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award. This year’s award ceremony, originally planned for March 2020,  was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bousamra has been presented with the award and he will also be honored during the City Commission meeting on Monday, December 7, 2020.

Bousamra is the President of Before, During, and After Incarceration (BDAI). He's served as a volunteer Catholic chaplain at the Grand Traverse County Jail for the past thirty-four years. He's a current member of the Family Partnership of Grand Traverse, a Deacon at St. Francis Catholic Church, and past chair of the St. Francis Peace and Justice Commission. Additionally, he was a secondary English teacher for forty years.  Bousamra helped to prepare those incarcerated for re-entry into our community through Life Skills Classes, Coaching/Mentoring programs, and Family Support Dinners. He's refurbished the jail library with new books and supported a clothing closet for those leaving incarceration. He's also advocated for improved mental health services, enrichment classes, and collaboration with other community organizations. Said one nominator, “Tom has a passion for those in need, whether the incarcerated, those experiencing homelessness, or people just needing a hand up. It is his heartfelt belief that all people have value and should be treated with dignity. Tom always sees the good in people and what they can accomplish.”

Bousamra has made a positive impact on our community and is especially-deserving of the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award. Sara Hardy, a longtime resident, through her courageous and determined actions gave birth to the concept of a Human Rights organization in her community. Her conduct and professionalism exemplify the philosophies and ideals of the Human Rights Commission to promote mutual understanding and respect among all people and to discourage discriminatory practices. This award recognizes Sara Hardy’s contributions to the community by honoring an individual who exemplifies the Human Rights Commission’s ideas. The recipient of this award is selected by the Traverse City Human Rights Commission. We want to encourage the citizens of the Traverse City area to join with us in recognizing the contributions made by this deserving individual in the promotion of human rights.

To learn more about the Human Rights Commission, visit