Joe Bell, San Jose World War II Vet Seen in Viral Video, Dies at 95 - NBC Bay Area

Joe Bell, San Jose World War II Vet Seen in Viral Video, Dies at 95

A newspaper reporter who lived nearby captured the clip of runners participating in a race to benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation spontaneously veering off course to show their respect

Joe Bell, a San Jose WWII vet who gained some unexpected fame last year has died. (Published Friday, Jan. 9, 2015)

A San Jose World War II veteran who gained some unexpected fame last year has died.

You might remember Joe Bell, who in March was caught on video, cheering on the 408k Race to the Row, which benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation, from his front yard. He was in his Army uniform, to show his respect for Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan.

One by one, runners started veering off the street to shake Bell’s hand.

NBC Nightly News named the clip one of the most inspiring viral videos of 2014.

World War II Veteran Honored by Runners, Caught by Reporter's Video

[BAY] World War II Veteran Honored by Runners, Caught by Reporter's Video
Mercury News reporter Julia Prodis Sulek grabbed an iPhone to capture dozens of runners spontaneously thanking 95-year-old World War II veteran Joe Bell who was outside his San Jose home to root on the runners in full military dress. Her video went viral. Bob Redell reports
(Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014)

In the months that followed, Bell was named grand marshal of a 4th of July parade and even got his own San Jose Giants baseball trading card.

Bell died at his home Thursday. He was 95 years old.

The viral video was shot by Mercury News reporter Julia Prodis Sulek. In the clip, runners spontaneously run up to the elderly man, fully decked out in his U.S. Army Airborne brown uniform. They shake his hand, shouting, "Thank you for your service."

"It just kept happening in waves," Sulek told NBC Bay Area last year. "Over and over again. The runners were wonderful to give Joe that kind of respect."

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