Father killed while walking cross country for dead gay son. Joe Bell, an Oregon man, was struck and killed by a semi-truck during his cross-country journey to raise awareness forbullying and teen suicide.

According to KGW, Bell, 48, was the father of Jadin Bell, a LaGrande High School sophomore who was bullied for being openly gay and took his own life, leading his father to create Faces for Change and embark on Joe’s Walk for Change.

Joe’s Walk for Change was a crusade that Bell began in August, a journey that would take him almost two years and over 5,000 miles across America, in order to share Jadin’s story with all who would listen.

Sadly, Bell’s journey was cut short in eastern Colorado, when a semi-driver from Texas reportedly fell asleep at the wheel and hit Bell as he was walking eastbound on Highway 40. Bell was pronounced dead at the scene of the 5 PM crash, according to KKTV.

After Jadin’s death, Joe, Jadin’s mother Heather Martin and Jadin’s uncle Bud Hill founded the group “Faces for Change.” They hoped to use the group to reduce bullying, promote tolerance and educate people about bullying’s root causes.

Joe was using his “Walk for Change” to spread the group’s message.

“For me personally, I’ll speak from my heart, and I think that people will understand that,” Joe said in April. “My goal is to get my son’s word out there; his name, his experience – just to get our story out there.”

Joe hoped to end up in New York City, where Jadin said he wanted to live after graduating high school in La Grande. He made it as far as Hwy 40 in rural Colorado, near the town of Kit Carson.

A state trooper who patrolled that area described it as a desolate stretch of road that doesn’t see a lot of traffic.

Ann Clark served as the vice president of Walk for Change.
“I have a son that was bullied at the same age as his son so it’s something that’s been close to my heart. So I wanted to do whatever I could to help him out,” Clark said.

She said she feared something like this could happen, but she was still shocked to hear the news.

“I’ve been up and down all day long. I just can’t quit crying. I’m stunned,” Clark said.

“He would say that if he could save one life the whole entire walk would be worth it,” she added. “He got a lot of emails from a lot of youth and he was getting ready to speak to ayouth group that night.”

On Thursday morning a friend of Joe’s put up an announcement about his death on aFacebook page chronicling the walk.

“Thank you so much for all your continued support,” it read. “He loved everyone he came into contact with and was so appreciative of all of your support.”