This month we’re celebrating the Denver VOICE’s 20th birthday. Over the past two decades, the VOICE has gone through several incarnations. The paper has meant many things to many different people. It has changed the lives of staff members, volunteers, readers, and—most importantly—vendors.
In each issue of the VOICE, we choose one vendor to profile. Our featured vendor for November is Jerry Rosen, profiled on page 3. For this special issue, we also decided to check in with a few people who have gone through our vendor program and moved on. You’ll find these “where are they now” vendor profiles on page 4.
When it comes to the VOICE’s vendor program, there is no one definition of success. Some vendors just need an opportunity; some need a support system. Each of the three vendors profiled this month is an example of the different ways the VOICE helps people survive and succeed.
There is Ed Werner, who in some ways fits the most traditional definition of success. Ed sold the VOICE on the 16th Street Mall until one day he was approached by a man who offered him a job with a roofing company. Ed has been employed with that company ever since.
There is Brian Dibley, a veteran who struggled with alcoholism on the streets of Denver for several years. The VOICE provided Brian with a community and a support system. He gained back some confidence writing for the paper, and was finally able to reconnect with his family last year. Brian is currently living with his brother in Upstate New York.
And there is Jerry Rosen, who has had a difficult time fitting into this world, and who has used the VOICE for almost 20 years as a way to get by. The VOICE will be here for Jerry for as long as it takes him to figure out his next move.
As VOICE vendor Steve Anson wrote in an essay published on page 13, “Life itself is tough on everyone.” We’ve served many Eds over the years, many Brians, and many Jerrys. The VOICE provides an opportunity for the people who, for whatever reason, need some time and help figuring out where their place is in the world. ■