A memorial service took place Thursday for Joe Bell. He was hit by a truck and killed last week while walking across Eastern Colorado, when he was less than halfway through a cross-country journey to honor the death of his teenage son. Jadin Bell took his own life in February. He was gay, and according to his family, committed suicide after being relentlessly bullied because of his sexuality.
Joe told Oregon Public Broadcasting a few days after he set out that, "After watching him die, when we were home after the funeral, I was just lying in bed wanting to die myself. And I knew I couldn’t do that, I had to be there for my youngest son, Joseph, and Lola, my wife. And I decided I had to do something different, so it just came to me to walk."
By walking from their home in Oregon to New York, where his son had dreamed of living, Joe Bell wanted to educate anyone who would listen about the lasting effects of bullying.
Before he was killed, Joe spent several weeks around Denver and Boulder. He held events with a Colorado organization called Second Wind Fund, which helps young people at risk of suicide. Ryan Warner talks with Richard Eveleigh, the director of Second Wind, about Joe and the bullying that can lead teenagers, particularly gay youth like Jadin, to take their own lives.
An organization supporting Joe's walk is recruiting volunteers to finish the journey. More information is available on the group's website by clicking here.