Remembering Jim Vance: The place where Jim could be Jim

On Monday, our area continues to remember legendary anchor and journalist, Jim Vance.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - On Monday, our area continues to remember legendary anchor and journalist, Jim Vance.

"He was a regular guy," said people at Jim Vance's barbershop. 

He was smooth. He was a professional. But one of the things people say they liked about him most was he was also a regular guy.

Anchor Debra Alfarone and Photojournalist Dion Wiggins heard about a barber who was also a good friend of Jim Vance. After doing some sleuthing in Silver Spring, they came upon Hair Care Express in the White Oak shopping center. 

RELATED: Washingtonians remember Jim Vance, longtime NBC4 anchor

That's where they found Kevin Rouse aka "Salt." Salt told us he met Jim about five years ago, and made a joke about how they both had similar gray hair. He'd been cutting his hair ever since.

"Every two weeks, he comes in on time. Every two weeks, he gives me a call, asks me what I'm doing, pick up breakfast for me and is just a genuine down-to-earth dude. My clients come by, they see him, they want to speak to him. He takes the time out and just give them that small kind word," he said. 

Salt says he came to Vance's home about two weeks before he passed.

"When he was first diagnosed with cancer, he informed me of it and I always saw him smoke cigarettes. My father smokes cigarettes, so I was like 'you might want to put them down,' he said 'yeah I'm getting ready to.' He told that he won't be able to come to the shop, so I eventually had to come to the house. He would come pick me up, we would go to the house, he would cook breakfast, lunch or whatever it would be. We would sit and talk. I would cut his hair. I would do little odds and ends for him because he was that guy," Salt said. 

Debra: What was he to you?

Salt: How can I say it, he's like a mentor, and inspiration as well as a mortar for this whole city.

Debra: Did he give you any advice or anything that stuck with you?

Salt: Just be nice, be kind and be mellow. Be true to yourself. Take life on a daily as you get it. Put a smile on your face, keep your head up and keep moving."

RELATED: WUSA9 remembers Jim Vance

Salt was cutting a fellow barber's hair. He goes by the name Coach Kenny. He too was moved by Vance.

"A lot of people saw him on the news desk but when he came into the shop, he wasn't Jim Vance, he was just another guy to get a cut. Coming from where he came from and ascending to the highest heights he left behind a legacy to let young folks know that you can be anything you want to be if you apply yourself in an effective manner," said Kenny. 

Salt reflected on the last time he saw Vance.

"Last thing he told me, I was like 'are you going to be OK?' He said 'don't worry about it. I've lived my life. I'm going to be OK. I've done everything,'" he said. 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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