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Founder of Crazy Horse Coffee Voted 2023 Pittsburgh Vetrepreneur of the Year


James Bendel Winner 1

(YorkPedia Editorial):- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Dec 2, 2022 ( – Army veteran James Bendel, founder, and owner of Crazy Horse Coffee in Washington, Pa., was selected by the public as the 2023 Pittsburgh Vetrepreneur® of the Year.

The award is a prestigious honor presented annually to one of the region’s outstanding veteran business owners who exemplifies the finest qualities of successful business leaders through sustained business success, a demonstrated passion for cultivating veteran entrepreneurship, and a track record of generosity in giving back to the veteran and civilian community. The award is presented by veteran-owned Military Friendly® and sponsored by Fort Pitt Capital Group.

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“James’ story of success is worthy of Hollywood,” said Chris Hale, Military Friendly® co-founder, CEO, and a Navy veteran. “Veteran volunteers for a second tour of Iraq after being wounded. Uses his military leadership skills to excel as a civilian employee. Risks it all to build his own successful business. And now he’s giving back generously to his fellow veterans and his community. Congratulations James on this well-deserved honor!”

Bendel was one of three outstanding veteran business owner finalists who was chosen through public voting online. His inspirational story will be published in the April issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, distributed free to transitioning service members and veterans worldwide. 

Bendel served two tours in Iraq with Crazy Horse Troop, 1st Squadron, and 14th Cavalry Regiment. He received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained during an ambush. After separating as a sergeant in 2008, Bendel worked in the oil and gas industry before launching Crazy Horse Coffee in Washington, Pa., in 2018. He has since started a nonprofit organization called Help-Hard, which helps vocational-technical school students further their education and entrepreneurship. Help-Hard also contributes to other charitable community initiatives. In 2022, he launched his own consulting firm. Bendel was named the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Western Pennsylvania Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year for 2022.


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Military Friendly


Military Friendly
The Military Friendly® program creates civilian opportunities for veterans. By setting a standard, promoting it and raising the bar over time, it provides long term, positive reinforcement for American organizations to invest in programs that improve the lives of veterans. It’s about creating demand for veterans in the private sector. When it was founded in 2003, the number of organizations who competed for Military Friendly® designation was around 20. Today, that number is around 2,000. That’s a massive increase in the quantity and quality of demand for veterans in the private sector. That’s good for veterans, good for the organizations and good for America.


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