Joe Bell walked the ends of the earth to honor his son.
The father’s journey across America to tell the story of his gay son, Jadin, who killed himself after being bullied at school, ended tragically Oct. 9 after Bell was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer.
Bell, 48, who was haunted by the suicide of his 15-year-old son, decided to hit the road with artificial knees, a three-wheeled pushcart loaded with food and water, and a desire to change the world.
Quitting his plywood mill job, he started walking April 20 from his hometown of La Grande, Ore., toward New York City, where his son dreamed of working one day in photography or fashion.
Bell chronicled his touching, trying trek on Facebook, sharing the stories of those he helped and those who helped him.
“I miss my son Jadin with all my heart and soul,” he wrote on Facebook in late May. “I know you’re with me on this walk.”
After six months of walking in the rain, sleeping in ditches and telling his son’s story to anyone who would listen, Bell was struck and killed Oct. 9 on a two-lane road in rural Colorado. The truck driver, 49-year-old Kenneth Raven, of Bryan, Texas, has been charged with careless driving resulting in death, a misdemeanor.
The father will be remembered at a memorial service in Oregon on Oct. 17. The service will be streamed live beginning at 2 p.m. (PT).