Amid inspirational music and motivational speeches, a dozen people representing 10 nations were sworn in as U.S. citizens last week.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services did the official honors in a hour-long special naturalization ceremony last Thursday, a first for the Auburn Library.
“We were always feeling connected, but now it’s official,” said an elated Ronny Zahavi, who joined his wife, Ruti, both of Israel, in becoming U.S. citizens. “I am proud to be an American citizen.”
Ronny Zahavi’s parents came to the U.S. when he was a boy. His parents were training with a U.S. company in the software and hardware business at the time.
“From the age of 6, I wanted to return and become a U.S. citizen,” he said.
After living in other parts of the country and in Canada, Ronny Zahavi and his family found a home in the Pacific Northwest, where he recently launched his own software business. They are indeed happy in their new surroundings.
“We came here for a better opportunity (to live and work). It has always been my husband’s dream to be a U.S. citizen,” Ruti Zahavi said. “We enjoy it here. It rains, but even the sun shines in the winter.”
The Zahavis joined a group of individual immigrants representing China, Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Russia, Slovakia, Thailand, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
Two of the new citizens sworn in are active in the U.S. military.
Dave Hill, Algona mayor and special guest, welcomed the new Americans.
“I am honored to be here with you today,” Hill said. “We welcome you … we urge you to become active in your community.”
Taking the oath: From left: Katarina Szondrkova Nishio of Slovakia; Egle Kupstyte of Lithuania; Olga V. Senchenko of Russia; and Olena Holyachenko of Ukraine.
MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter