Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 8:37 am
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
We're staying in Norristown, Pennsylvania for a workplace story about Oscar Vance. In two weeks he's retiring from the area district attorney's office where he's worked for nearly half a century. He is leaving as chief detective for Montgomery County, overseeing all investigations that come through the D.A.'s office.
But in 1963, he too was a young Marine getting out of the military. He too is African American. And even as some older men guided him through his interviews, he credits his parents, Bernice and Oscar, Sr., for getting him ready for his shot at a career.
OSCAR VANCE: My father taught me at an early age. My first job that I had, I was 13 years old, from 6:00 in the evening until 12:00 at night - I worked at a bank in maintenance and also as their door man on Friday nights. And I would have to get dressed in a suit, direct the people, and so forth. And my father taught me how to handle myself there, which was a big help preparing me for life, those things that I would encounter in terms of a job.
WERTHEIMER: Oscar Vance will not be leaving law enforcement once he retires. He plans to continue working as a private investigator in Norristown, Pennsylvania. And to start mentoring programs in the area to help kids stay away from crime.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.