ROCHELLE PARK, NJ -- Francis A. “Fran” Carrasco was installed on May 18 as the 87th commander of the Bergen County American Legion at the annual county American Legion convention, which took place at Rochelle Park American Legion Post 170.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer was in attendance to congratulate all. “It’s an enormous honor to be here today, first and foremost to be here with people who have put country, patriotism and honor for our great country first,” he said. “I’m incredibly hopeful about the future of The American Legion.”
“The American Legion supports the basic bedrock values of America. We remember how we got here today. My grandfather served in World War II, and he would say to me “the most important thing you should do in life is remember that country comes first,” Gottheimer continued. “It’s pretty simple. You put America above party.”
“Commander Carrasco has long dedicated his time and effort to veterans and their families in North Jersey.”
Others who were installed as county American Legion officers were: Vice Commanders Raymond Stitz of River Edge (Post 170), Donato Laviola of Lyndhurst (Post 139), and Vincent Martorano of Montville (Post 136), Finance Officer Mario Lembo of Oakland (Post 369) and Chaplain George Tomko of Westwood Post (206).
Carrasco commented, “We have a lot of work to do to increase membership and awareness. I have a great team and we are ready to start right away. Let’s get to work!”
Currently Lodi American Legion post commander, Carrasco will hold the dual roles of post and county commander. He was a Specialist Fifth Class in the United States Army during the Vietnam War from 1969-1970. He is a Purple Heart recipient, having served with the First and 39th Artillery Unit on fire bases through Northern I Corps, DMZ and outside the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Carrasco is chairman and co-founder of New Jersey’s Mission of Honor for Cremains of American Veterans. He is a member and former officer of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 800, member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was presented with the “Bergen County Veteran of the Year” award in 2013, In 2016 he was presented with the New Jersey New Civilian Commendation Service Medal.