BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thank you for your service has a new meaning at one Pikesville business.
As America honors its heroes this week during Veterans Day, one local veteran is on a mission to help his fellow brothers on the battlefield survive and succeed when they come back home.
What started with a Marine simply looking for a job, quickly became a full-scale operation for John Way.
“It resonated with me that we need to do better for our veterans,” Way said. “There’s nothing easy about hiring a veteran, but it’s a smart thing to do.”
A strategy that’s now paying off for the former Army veteran.
“I quickly learned you need to hire more than one, because they will work well in teams,” he said.
Since 2014, Law, owner of the Pikesville Jiffy Lube, has looked for ways to support the troops and to put veterans back on duty.
Veterans make up 80 percent of the staff at the Jiffy Lube.
For many of them, the opportunity is a chance at a better life.
[Reporter: “As a veteran, what does it mean to you?] “It means a lot. It means we definitely look out for our own. Like any other place, you have to help others out,” said one veteran who works at the Jiffy Lube.
Not only financially and physically, but also mentally.
“Currently, 40 percent of our veteran staff is certified in mental health and first aid, and we continue to send these guys to that,” Way said.
Way is also the founder of VA Way, a non-profit group that bridges the gap between businesses and resources for veterans.
Working with groups, like Project Place and the VA, he can help with housing and more.
“We talk about second chances, we talk about moving forward,” said veteran and general manager Gary Canteen.
Something this group says they’re thankful for.
As the general manager, Canteen sees first hand the life changing transformation that comes with a hand up, and not a handout.
“At some point, the United States of America has invested into these individuals and gave them the opportunity to do something,” he said. “Now we’re just bringing it back to life.”
Every month VA Way hosts an event to raise money to buy items needed for some of those homeless vets.
Way says they plan to honor veterans this week through a number of events.