Ore. Father Killed on Cross-Country Walk Memorializing Gay Son

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com October 10 2013 6:28 PM ET

An Oregon father who lost his gay 15-year-old son to suicide earlier this year was killed while walking across the country in an effort to educate about the impact of bullying, reports the The Denver Post.

Joe Bell, 48, launched Joe's Walk for Change in February "to educate anyone who will listen about the lasting effects of bullying," after his son, Jadin, was relentlessly bullied at school and online after coming out as gay, according to the Walk's Facebook page. The senior Bell began walking from his home in La Grande, Ore., in April, with the intent to walk to New York City, where his son had hoped to attend college. 

But on Wednesday evening, Joe Bell was killed along U.S. Highway 40 in Cheyenne County, Colo., when a semi-truck driver reportedly fell asleep at the wheel and hit Bell. The driver, Kenneth Raven, 49, was cited with careless driving resulting in death, and was not injured, reports the Post.

A post on the walk's Facebook page announced Bell's death Thursday morning. "Thank you so much for all of your continued support," reads the post. "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." 

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