Bellís walk is the right thing to do

By Observer Upload March 22, 2013 01:10 pm

Sometimes you know something, no matter how outlandish, is the right thing to do.

Such is the cross-country trek Joe Bell of La Grande is training for. His goal? To make sure that his son Jadin’s tragic story is never forgotten.

The task seems daunting. Joe Bell will soon begin a two-year, 5,000-mile walk across the United States to promote Faces For Change, the foundation that was established in Jadin’s memory to promote anti-bullying programs. Jadin, a gay La Grande High School sophomore, died Feb. 3 from injuries suffered from a suicide attempt on Jan. 19. Jadin’s family and friends believe that he was driven to suicide by bullying.

Joe Bell will get the message out one step at a time. He plans to speak on behalf of the foundation and Jadin at schools and discuss the importance of people stepping in to stop bullying. He plans to invite students to join him on short stints of his journey. 

It’s a major life change. Bell resigned from his longtime job with Boise Cascade to make his walk, believing he needed to do something that would make a difference.

Many people dream about doing something big. Few people, especially in mid-life or older, follow up on the notion. Some people naturally are telling Bell that his journey will be too difficult. And Bell faces a special challenge: he has gone through major back surgery and double knee replacement surgery. He hopes his walk will inspire people who have had joint replacement surgery. 

However you look at it, Bell’s walk will be inspiring. If it helps more people take a stand against bullying, it will have been worth every footstep.