Volunteers asked to help complete trek of father killed while memorializing son
DENVER — Joe Bell, an Oregon father who was killed while walking across the country to memorialize his son who took his own life after being bullied because he was gay, will be laid to rest Thursday.
A public memorial service will be held in La Grande, Oreg., at 2 p.m. and will be livestreamed online.
Bell was hit by a truck while walking on a remote road in eastern Colorado on his way to Kansas. He was walking across the country to raise awareness about the effects of bullying.
Bell’s son, Jadin, 15, took his life earlier this year. Jadin had been bullied at school and on social media because he was gay.
Bell began his walk in April and planned to wander through several states and eventually end in New York City.
During a stop in Denver in September, Bell told FOX31 Denver that after Jadin died, Bell quit his job and took out his 401K to pay for the trip.
“You know the bullying comes from people not accepting people for who they are,” Bell said in September. “I had more family. I needed to fight back, so it came to me to walk.”
Bell created the non-profit organization Joe’s Walk for Change, which hopes to keep his mission alive with members of the public completing his walk.
Volunteers can sign up at JoesWalkForChange.org/walk and pledge to walk a 5-mil increment or more along his original route.
The walking route will pick up in Colorado where Joe left off and continue through the following states: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.
Others not in those areas can walk 5 or more consecutive miles, in honor of Joe and in support of anti-bullying and suicide prevention, and then log the miles, share a picture of the walk, and share how it went online.