Varrone returns as American Legion Post 347 Commander

Al Varrone, of the Village of Bonnybrook, won election Friday to return as commander of American Legion Post 347, a role he first held from 2017 to 2019.

Al Varrone, who led American Legion Post 347 from 2017 to 2019, won another term as post commander Friday.

Varrone defeated current commander Bob Kiley and Ellen Tierney in the election of the post’s officers. He’ll take over the post on Wednesday.

First Vice Commander Joan Suelter was reelected to her post, defeating T.C. Biddle.

Varrone, who lives in the Village of Bonnybrook, said his first act would be to begin to prepare Suelter for running the post when he steps down.

“I want her to see what a commander has to deal with to go forward,” he said.

American Legion Post 347 is the largest in the world, with nearly 7,000 regular members and more than 3,000 Auxiliary and Sons of the Legion members.

Kiley was elected as commander last year when Varrone stepped down after two terms leading the post. Kiley oversaw a national event that was brought to the post by Varrone —the American Legion Legacy Run. Legion members from all over gathered at Post 347 in August to ride motorcycles to the national convention in Indianapolis. 

The run raised money for the Legion’s Legacy Fund, which awards scholarships to children of post-9/11 service members who were killed in the line of duty or who have a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or more. 

The legacy run last year raised nearly $1 million.

Also elected Friday were Historian Phil Crouthamel and board members Fred Jary, Joe Holdreith, Guy Knaak and Bob Suelter. Second Vice Commander Dave Musser, Third Vice Commander Dan Martin, Finance Officer Ken DeMello, Chaplain Lon Hertel and Sergeant at Arms George Zablocki were all unopposed for their offices.

<p>Senior writer Steve Straehley can be reached at <a style="color: blue;" href="tel:+1-352-753-1119">352-753-1119</a>, ext. 5228, or <a style="color: blue;" href="mailto:steve.straehley@thevillagesmedia.com">steve.straehley@thevillagesmedia.com</a>.</p>