Column: Oglala Sioux man was not just homeless

"A few times a week, sometimes more depending on how the funds were holding up, George Chase Alone occupied a piece of Denver real estate called Indian Ridge. The homeless gave it that name. Take Speer Boulevard south and at the intersection of Colfax Avenue, look to your left, toward Cherry Creek. That's it, the beat-down patch of dirt running next to the bridge and down the steep bank of the creek.

It's Indian Ridge because most of the panhandlers who stake it out are American Indian. George was Lakota, from Pine Ridge, S.D.Little George, some people called him. He wasn't much taller than a jockey, with a hard-to-forget face: big glasses, wide mouth, full lips, long hair.

He flew his sign on that corner and his occasional panhandling buddy, Howard "Larry" Hunt singer, claimed a spot a couple blocks away on Champa and Speer. If you gave either of them money they likely spent it on booze. Larry would just paint it on his sign: "I'm not gonna lie, I could use a drink today."

They typically drank until they were smashed and then they passed out. That's George you saw in the police mug shot published Tuesday, the wasted man.

But no person can be summed up by a single aspect of his life. What we see from our car windows of the men holding their signs is not all there is to be seen. Which is why when the news hit that George and Larry had been found dead Sunday, people who knew them and loved them and tried to help them took it hard, slumping in their chairs, shaking their heads, weeping. No."

Get the Story:
Tina Griego: So much more to 2 homeless guys (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 4/16)

Related Stories:
Denver police investigate death of Oglala man (4/16)