Good Joe Bell: A Father’s Memorial Walk For His Bullied Son

In 2013, Joe Bell, a man from Eastern Oregon, set out on foot on a mission to walk across the US raising awareness about the harms of bullying. He spoke to school groups and communities, to share the story about his gay son Jadin, who had committed suicide after being mercilessly bullied in high school.

Bell’s artificial knees ached but he was determined to make it on foot from his home state of Oregon to New York City, where his son Jadin had dreamed of one day working in fashion or photography.

He mapped out a route and assembled a network of friends who would track his progress. He quit his job at a plywood mill, threw some clothes and a sleeping bag onto his back and loaded up a three-wheeled pushcart with food and gallons of water, then set off on April 20, according to a New York Times article.

He documented his journey through social media posts, sharing stories about the kindness he experienced from strangers; those who fed him dinner, refilled his water jugs, offered him a bed in their home or made small donations to keep his trek going.