Remembering Jim Vance: why I felt connected to him


On Saturday, July 22, 2017, DC and the world lost a great man.  Longtime and beloved NBC4 reporter and anchor Jim Vance passed away after a battle with cancer.  I was on the air at the time word came out and I couldn’t hold back the tears as I shared the sad news with our listeners. 

All week afterward, I felt heartbroken...cried alot…and really couldn’t understand quite why I was so moved by Jim. Why I felt so connected to him. I didn’t know him...never met him. But as I watched Channel 4’s tribute to him this past Friday night, it all made sense.

I had no idea that Jim had low self-esteem and battled depression. A man so full of laughter and life. A man who exuded confidence and strength. Who would have guessed? Some might think the same about me.  Outwardly, I am bubbly and laugh alot…but on the inside, I struggle. I have lifelong issues that to this day haunt me.  Like Jim, my sense of self-worth is almost nonexistent.

Jim said during an interview a few years ago with his co-anchor and dear friend Doreen Gentzler, “For a long period of time, I considered myself a mistake”. 

I’ve also felt that way often throughout my life.

Jim added that he felt like his existence on this earth was an aberration.

Me, too, Jim. 

It clicked as I watched the tribute: we were kindred spirits.

I have been through a few bouts of severe depression and thankfully, I have been able to fight my way through the dark times. And it’s true that sadly, there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues.  It doesn’t get talked about nearly enough, and I myself have been “embarrassed” to admit that I have issues…that I am not perfect. Growing up, it was instilled in me that I HAD TO BE PERFECT.  But after watching Jim, I became inspired to share my story.  Like him, if I can help even one person, it’s worth it and just so necessary. 

I talk to a counselor and I use essential oils to boost my mood and keep me feeling balanced.  And there are of course so many other resources available.

I really want to stress this: if you (or someone you know) are struggling…you are NOT alone.  

You are valuable. You are worthy. You are loved. And it’s OKAY to ask for help. 

Text CONNECT to 741741…and a National Suicide Hotline counselor will be there for you, anytime, day or night. 

Or you can reach out to me, via email:, or on social media.  I will do everything I can to help. 

All my love, and God bless.

And RIP, Vance.  The news in DC won’t be the same without you.  I so wish I could have shaken your hand just once, and told you how much I admired you. 

Jenni Chase

Jenni Chase

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