Published July 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 6
by Gretchen Crowe
If you remember back to the news on june 2, you might remember the top story about a homeless man caught by the rushing waters of Cherry Creek, and the rescue that ensued. That was James Wright. James had dozed off, so wasn’t aware the water had risen up around him, trapping him on a lone pillar. He called 911 for help.
The first thing James did after the incident was to call our office, then he sloshed up to “distribution,” where vendors get papers. He was all laughs, but aware of the severity of the morning.
James was born in Appleton, WI and moved to Denver in 1981. James loves jokes, trivia, collecting grocery store stickers, but primarily, playing guitar. He used to record songs every Saturday night in his apartment for over nine years. He has produced CD’s, and has a canon to fill many, many more.
Since the Cherry Creek incident, James’ daily life has changed. The media attention has made him a street celebrity, and also has drawn more authority figures to monitor him. Denver prohibits sleeping on Cherry Creek. He worried he might have gotten someone in trouble, since he was sleeping where people aren’t supposed to be. He says, “it’s more difficult to be left alone to rest,” if he’s stuck outside from vending late, because police know him by sight now. Luckily, James often stays with his brother in town.
James’ experiences highlight the dilemma of where to go if you have no where else to go, especially when you’re constantly singled out to keep moving. Of course, James’ humorous response: “It just helps me get more exercise!”