Jason Alan Bell
"J.J."
20 Years Old

July 1, 1979 to March 17, 2000

Jason was a generous and caring graduate of the Delaware Hayes High School in Delaware, Ohio. He was a member of the Hayes Swim Team. Following graduation, Jason worked at Walmart. His family, friends, teachers and co-workers miss him deeply.

The Special Education Department of Hayes High School have sponsored his name on the Murder Wall.

Newspaper stories often cannot tell the "whole story", or enough of the background about an incident, or an individual. This is one small but significant part of the story of Jason Bell. Like most of the Delaware Hayes swim team and their parents, we knew him as J.J.

J.J. was a member of the swim team, and was THE hero - capital H - to all the members of the team, and their parents. This was a team that included several multi-year state qualifiers and I don't mean to belittle them or their efforts - J.J. was their hero, too. Writers often refer to athletes as "heroes" or "heroic" but we all understand the little "h".

Winning athletic contests doesn't necessarily guarantee heroic behavior, nor does it always mark heroic effort. We equate winning with heroism when it is often anything but. How often have we been dismayed at the boorish antics or our "heroes" or worse, appalled by their thuggery? Really, it isn't often hard to distinguish the real thing.

A Hero makes consistent and great efforts to achieve goals, regardless of obstacles and naysayers. A Hero selflessly cheers on his team mates, with no need to jockey for position, no jealousy, only good feelings for all. A Hero doesn't whine, make excuses, miss practice, gossip, do things outside of his sport that might hurt his team, or slack off. A Hero is happy to be competing: win or lose, his good humor never fails him. A Hero never pouts or throws a tantrum about his performance. A Hero puts out maximum effort regardless of the prospects for a win - he's doing it for the team. A Hero pays no attention to team hierarchy; all team members get equal cheering, congratulations, and backslapping. A Hero has no need of public adoration or affirmation; he is happy to be a part of it all.

J.J. was all of those things and I'm sure there are many more stories to be shared about him. I'll share one more enduring memory. At the end-of-the-season banquet his senior year, J.J. received a standing ovation. I know that of all the standing ovations I have participated in, that was the most moving moment, and the most completely deserved standing "0" I'll ever see.

People come in and out of our lives and we'll never be able to predict how even the most fleeting contacts can have a profound effect on us. Knowing J.J., and losing him in such a heart-breaking way, is horrific. It was his life, though, that had such an amazing effect on us. We've lost a true hero.

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Jason Bell