Friends remember Bell at vigil

By Kelly Ducote October 12, 2013 09:08 am

Max Square was standing room only Friday night.

Residents and friends came out to support the Bell family after Joe Bell was tragically killed on a Colorado highway Wednesday night.

Bud Hill of La Grande, who helped found Bellís Faces for Change Foundation, speaks at the candlelight vigil for Joe Bell. Following Jadin Bell's passing, Faces For Change, was established in Jadinís memory to promote anti-bullying programs. Photo by Phil Bullock.
Bud Hill of La Grande, who helped found Bellís Faces for Change Foundation, speaks at the candlelight vigil for Joe Bell. Following Jadin Bell's passing, Faces For Change, was established in Jadinís memory to promote anti-bullying programs. Photo by Phil Bullock.
 

Bell was on a walk across America to honor his son Jadin, who took his life earlier this year. Jadin was openly gay, and family members say bullying played a role in his death.

"This is a place of love and healing," said Miranda Warren-Zacharias, who helped organize the candlelight vigil.

Though Warren-Zacharias never met Jadin, she said she was touched by his story. She met Joe after Jadin's death.

"He was awesome," she said of the few times she got to talk to Joe.

Richard Scott, president of Eastern Oregon University's Gay Straight Alliance, said he grew up gay and La Grande and knows what Jadin went through.

"If I can provide some sort of example to someone who's hurting…" he said.

Bell family friend Bud Hill provided some laughs at the vigil.

"You knew I wasn't done," he said as he took the mic for the third time.

On a serious note, Hill said Faces for Change, the foundation started after Jadin's death to put an end to bullying, is still going.

"We're still going to get the education out there. We have to," he said. "(Joe's) mission from day one was if he could save one life it was worth it. I'll go to my grave believing he did."