ROCHELLE PARK, NJ -- Francis A. “Fran” Carrasco was installed Saturday, May 18 as the 87th Commander of the Bergen County American Legion at the annual county American Legion convention, at Rochelle Park American Legion Post 170.

“We have a lot of work to do to increase membership and awareness," said Carrasco. "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 role of Post and County Commander.  Commander Francis “Fran” Carrasco 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.

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“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,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5.) “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 said. 

“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 Offices 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 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, a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, member of LZ Hope, a PTSD support group in East Orange, member of Elmwood Park/Paterson Elks Lodge 60 and the Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 1971. Carrasco was presented with the “Bergen County Veteran of the Year” award in 2013 by County Executive Kathleen Donovan, and in 2016, Governor Chris Christie presented him with the New Jersey Civilian Commendation Service Medal.