Fairborn man walking coast to coast for suicide prevention

Joe Hall takes a break from his journey along US 40 between South Vienna and Springfield on Thursday, June 23, 2022. Hall is walking across America as part of a fundraiser for the health unit behavior of Dayton children. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Joe Hall takes a break from his journey along US 40 between South Vienna and Springfield on Thursday, June 23, 2022. Hall is walking across America as part of a fundraiser for the health unit behavior of Dayton children. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Preparing to run a marathon in less than a year was what Hall decided to focus on. In September 2021, Hall was the last person to cross the finish line of the Columbus Marathon. But one marathon wasn’t enough for Hall as, just over a month later, he ran 52.2 miles in two days in an ultra-marathon in Phoenix.

After the marathons, Hall came across a Mike Posner music video for the song “Live Before I Die.” The singer performed a transcontinental walk in 2019, which was the subject of his music video. Hall was inspired by the video and decided that a transcontinental walk was his next project.

He ‘dove headfirst’ into books about the walk across the county and connected on social media with others who had completed the hike to learn all he could before setting off. in the walk. Hall also realized that he couldn’t just make this trip for himself; he needed to find greater motivation.

“One of the things on top of my depression is that I have really bad self-esteem issues,” said Hall, who on his website calls himself “a 39-year-old overweight warehouse worker “.

“I looked at myself and thought, ‘Joe Hall isn’t worth this effort. You have to do this for something bigger than yourself.’

Hall knew he wanted to dedicate the walk to mental health awareness and suicide prevention because of his own battle with depression. But, after speaking with one of his friends whose son, Jaxon, had taken his own life aged 16, he also wanted to walk to raise money for the hospital’s behavioral health unit. for children of Dayton.

Jaxon’s family launched the “Run a Mile for Jaxon” fundraiser two years ago, and donations from Hall’s transcontinental walk go directly to the fundraiser’s $50,000 goal. Hall said he recognized it was a lofty goal for his trip, but he was beginning to see its impact in other ways.

“I’ve had people reach out to me via email and say they’ve been following and they’re inspired and struggling,” Hall said. “If I don’t help [Jaxon’s family] get to their $50,000, I have to understand that maybe the impact I was meant to have by doing this was for other people, not just fundraising.

Joe Hall walks along US 40 between South Vienna and Springfield on Thursday, June 23, 2022. Hall is walking across America as part of a fundraiser for the Dayton Children’s Behavioral Health Unit . BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Joe Hall walks along US 40 between South Vienna and Springfield on Thursday, June 23, 2022. Hall is walking across America as part of a fundraiser for the Dayton Children's Behavioral Health Unit .  BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Joe Hall walks along US 40 between South Vienna and Springfield on Thursday, June 23, 2022. Hall is walking across America as part of a fundraiser for the Dayton Children’s Behavioral Health Unit . BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The “Hall Across the County” campaign kicked off May 15 on the Delaware coast in Rehoboth Beach, and after a 3,107-mile journey, Hall will complete the walk at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

So far he’s been through big hills in Appalachia, plus two heat waves, a toe problem here and a sore hip flexor there.

As more and more people hear about his journey, people meet him along the way, buy him lunch, and sometimes talk about their own mental health issues.

After covering about 20% of the walk, he is taking a three-day break in his hometown of Fairborn from Friday to rest and recuperate. Hall said the first leg of the journey was full of kindness from the people he met along the way. He documents his day-to-day journey on social networks, making sure to mention the good encounters he makes.

“If I can try to highlight the good that’s been happening to me along the way, you know, maybe that can help give someone else some light on the fact that they don’t won’t always be in the dark,” Hall said.

He said the “Hall Across the County” walk helped him find his purpose after a long period of darkness.

“I’m proof that you can pull it off, and you just have to keep going,” Hall said. “It’s a bit like a walk. You just have to keep walking one foot in front of the other, and at some point you’re going to find that goal. I really strongly believe that for everyone.

Follow Joe Hall’s journey on HallAcrosstheCountry.com and on Facebook.