Joe Bell says it'll take two years to walk 5,000 miles, at a rate of 15 to 25 miles a day, and make it to the East Coast. He set out Saturday.Joe will be walking through the southern states, and will hit the east coast with a special stop in New York City.
He and his 15-year-old son, Jadin, had gone to a counselor to report the bullying before the high school sophomore from La Grande hanged himself in a schoolyard Jan. 19. The teenager died two weeks later.
The youth had been open about being gay.
The school and family haven't released details of the bullying or confirmed a connection between that and his suicide.
Bell resigned from his longtime job with Boise Cascade to make his walk, which he'll do on two artificial knees. The replacement surgery was done in 2010.
"I needed a break. I was ready, I was looking for something different," he told the La Grande Observer when he announced plans for the trek. "I just wish, however, that I was doing this under different circumstances."
Along the way, he plans to speak at schools and other venues, and emphasize the importance of speaking up against bullying. He has set up a foundation, Faces for Change, to promote anti-bullying programs.
It's where he son, Jadin, wanted to live his life.