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  serving communities 

A man shakes another mans hand as they both smile


In 2014, after serving 7 years in the Army, John made the transition to Civilian life and witnessed firsthand how difficult the transition can be. 


He landed a job as entry-level management at a Jiffy Lube in Baltimore, Maryland, and within a year, he was managing 8 different stores. By 2006, he bought into the Jiffy Lube franchise and had two locations. 


As an employer, he found that he was constantly struggling to find skilled and reliable staff, so he made the decision to seek out Veterans. 


In 2014, he participated in Operation Hire and was awarded the Governor's Citation for hiring the most veterans by percentage within 90 days.


Hiring Veterans does not come without its challenges. One day at work at Jiffy Lube, a veteran was in crisis, and John did not know how to handle or respond. However, he spent two hours that night talking to the veteran, helping him calm down and preventing him from hurting himself. The very next day, he sought assistance from the VA with his contacts and got training in Mental Health First Aid. 


By 2016, the Jiffy Lube was composed of 85% veterans, with over 60% of them trained in Mental Health First Aid. John was the only Jiffy Lube in America to send his team of veterans to get trained in Mental Health First Aid. Once they returned, it was clear that the impact of this training was overwhelmingly successful and everyone's lives changed for the better. 


Consequently, the store became the number one store in Maryland in 2016 for increases in satisfaction and sales, eventually turning it into a $1 million store. He truly believes that it was because of veterans, but moreover, having everyone trained in Mental Health First Aid.


In June of 2018, he trained to be an instructor in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to move forward helping the Veteran community with MHFA training. He currently sits on the Opioid Collaborative Community Council (O.C.C.C.) and Howard County Behavioral Health Advisory Board as a voice for Veterans and to help with this ongoing crisis in our community. 


The loss of iconic musician Jeff Austin hit founder and owner of the VA Way, John Way, very hard. 

Yonder Mountain String Band was the first time he was introduced to bluegrass music and it was in New Orleans at a 2am show during Jazz Fest. That show forever changed his life. He believes that night discovering Jeff Austin set him on the path that he is on today.  Jeff's death highlights the crises of mental health in ALL communities, especially our music community.


The VA Way is partnering with the Delfest Foundation to bring Mental Health First Aid Training to our Music communities.  Our goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness - to make it okay to not be okay, to make it okay to seek help, and to increase the awareness and the overall Mental Health IQ of our community so that as a community we cultivate understanding and compassion for ourselves and others and build a strong support network to prevent future loss of any of our brothers and sisters due to mental illness. 

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Two men stand beside each other, smiling in front of a presentation


Discover our mental health trainings designed to help you be equipped and apart of our mission to improve mental health and well-being in our communities.


Discover our mental health resources that connect you with the help you need to improve your mental health and well-being. 

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Discover our mental health events that help you connect with your community while improving your mental health and well-being.

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