This is a horrible tragedy.
Joe Bell, an Oregonian walking coast to coast to raise awareness of bullying after losing his son to suicide was struck by a truck and killed on October 9, 2013 in Colorado. The truck driver, Kenneth Raven, apparently fell asleep at the wheel, although media outlets report that Raven's employer is questioning whether Raven actually fell asleep while driving.
There is much media coverage of this loss as family and friends prepare to gather for a memorial service in La Grande. Here are two compelling pieces we have seen that show how much one human being can impact many others.
In one story, Colorado Sheriff Tom Nestor shares an e mail he authored recounting his first encounter with Joe Bell on the side of the road. After their initial meeting, Sheriff Nestor invited Mr. Bell to speak at a church group, and was making arrangements for Mr. Bell to be a guest at his home, only to hear about the tragic accident over the police radio.
On Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Think Out Loud," Professor Pauls Toutonghi reflects on his time with Joe Bell. Professor Toutonghi was so moved by an earlier interview of Joe Bell, he sought Mr. Bell out, and spent time with him on the road to write a heart wrenching story on Salon. Professor Toutonghi recounts one conversation where Bell talked about some long haul truckers actually swerving at him, apparently for "kicks", as he walked down the side of the road.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Bell and his family. We hope they can find strength through the outpouring of support.