A community still grieving the loss of a woman killed just five months ago unveiled a bench dedicated to her memory Saturday.
Brenda Ware was a 35-year-old hairdresser who lived on a farm near Cremona, Alta., and worked as a hair stylist in nearby Sundre. On May 6, her body was found along a remote highway near Radium, B.C.
Ware's family and friends gathered for the unveiling of the hand-carved bench in Sundre's Greenwood Campground.
Brenda's mother, Karla Ware, said having the community support has helped the family cope with her daughter's death.
"If we didn't have the support we'd be in trouble," said Brenda's father, Don Ware. "I hope that people can find closure and peace and just remember our daughter."
Philip Toner, 41, faces a second-degree murder charge in relation to her death. Toner was Ware's boyfriend, and parole documents from a previous sentence show concern about the risk Toner posed to women given his long criminal history of violence against girlfriends.
Steve Holmes, a friend of Ware's, says he hopes her death makes people aware of violence against women.
"She was amazingly strong … there's always going to be people like that out there. But you just need to be more aware. You know, keep your friends close. Pay attention to your family. Love one another," Holmes said.
"I'd rather not ever have had to dedicate this to her, but we did it because she deserves it. She deserves so much more."
Holmes said there will also be two scholarships set up in Ware's name for aspiring hairdressers, and hairstyling school MC College will match funds for two students.