Coon Rapids Legion officers installed

The Coon Rapids American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary installed officers for the 2013-2014 year in a ceremony June 27 at the Legion  post.

Taking part in an installation ceremony for the Coon Rapids American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary June 27 at the Legion post were, back row, left to right: Gary Semmel, Sons of the American Legion commander; First Vice Commander Kalvin Thompson; Past Commander Erv Eckman, who presided at the ceremony in the absence of Commander Dominic Sambrano because of work commitments. Front row, left to right: Helen Steffen, immediate past auxiliary president; Donna Redepenning, 10th District Auxiliary president from Anoka; and Flora Ellefson, who was installed as new auxiliary president.

Taking part in an installation ceremony for the Coon Rapids American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary June 27 at the Legion post were, back row, left to right: Gary Semmel, Sons of the American Legion commander; First Vice Commander Kalvin Thompson; Past Commander Erv Eckman, who presided at the ceremony in the absence of Commander Dominic Sambrano because of work commitments. Front row, left to right: Helen Steffen, immediate past auxiliary president; Donna Redepenning, 10th District Auxiliary president from Anoka; and Flora Ellefson, who was installed as new auxiliary president.

Dominic Sambrano will serve a second year as post commander, while Flora Ellefson was installed as auxiliary president.

Sambrano was not present for the installation ceremony because of work commitments.

But he sent a note to be read to the Legion membership by Past Commander Erv Eckman, who presided at the installation ceremony in the absence of Sambrano.

According to Sambrano, much had been accomplished in the past year.

In the coming year, Sambrano said he would continue his effort to grow membership and to beautify the grounds of the Legion post on Crooked Lake Boulevard.

In addition, he said he wanted to create new programs to benefit post members and he welcomed ideas.

“I am honored to serve as your commander again for the coming year,” Sambrano said.

“Let us all have a great year.”

A native of Austin, Texas, Sambrano served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve in an armored division battalion based at Fort Carson, Colo.

He moved to Minnesota 16 years ago and has been a member of the Coon Rapids American Legion for the past six years.

Ellefson is no stranger to the role of auxiliary president. This will be her sixth stint in the position.

“My first year as president was 1974-75, but I don’t remember the other years,” Ellefson said.

Indeed, Ellefson has also served in all the other offices of the auxiliary over the years as well as 10th District auxiliary president in 2009-2010.

She joined the Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary in 1968.

“There were many people in our neighborhood who were veterans and they and their wives were members of the Legion and auxiliary and they urged me to join,” Ellefson said.

Post officers installed June 27 included Kalvin Thompson, first vice commander; Dean Cowan, second vice commander; John Valley, third vice commander; Bruce Sanders, finance officer; Steve Sumstad, sergeant-at-arms; Justin Miller, adjutant; and Don Gullickson, historian.

Besides Ellefson, auxiliary officers installed were Yvonne Rasmussen, first vice president and membership chairperson; Joyce Semmel, second vice president and poppy chairperson; Linda Thompson, treasurer; Carole Ruth and Anne Steffen, executive committee; and Helen Swaim, sergeant-at-arms.

Gary Semmel was installed as Coon Rapids Sons of the American Legion commander for another year. He is also the state commander.

The installation ceremony was performed by members of Voiture 1281 40&8, an independent, by invitation, honor and charitable organization of male and female U.S. veterans, headed by Marland Ronning, ritual team leader.

A guest at the installation ceremony was Larsen Kronstad, a Coon Rapids High School student who was one of the two Coon Rapids representatives of the Coon Rapids American Legion to attend the annual Boys State program at Southwest State University in Marshall.

The week-long program focuses on how government works at the state and local levels and was a “wonderful opportunity,” Kronstad said.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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