Father Killed While Walking Across Country For Gay Son Who Committed Suicide

In April, I wrote a story about a father in Oregon, Joe Bell, 48, who set out on a cross-country trek to memorialize his teen son Jadin who had committed suicide after being bullied at school for being gay. The walk would take him 5,000 miles, from his home state all the way to the Delaware coastline. Along the way he stopped to lead lectures for his organization, Walk for Change, a group that stressed the importance of anti-bullying efforts in schools and communities. Unfortunately, he only made it as far as Colorado, where tragedy struck him there this week.

On Wednesday, Joe Bell was killed on a highway in Colorado when a driver of a semi-truck reportedly fell asleep at the wheel and struck Bell on the side of the road. The Denver Post reports that the driver, Kenneth Raven, was “cited with careless driving resulting in death, and was not injured.”

The walk’s Facebook page announced Bell’s death yesterday, with a post saying, “Thank you so much for all of your continued support. … He loved everyone he came into contact with, and was so appreciative of all your support. … He will continue his journey now with Jadin. Please keep his family in your prayers and thoughts.”