When Veroncia Medina left Mexico for the United States in 1990, she was planning on a short vacation.
But a friend introduced her to the man she would marry, and 12 years later she is still here.
“I thought I'd only be here for a month - I never thought I'd stay forever,” she said.
Mrs. Medina was one of 37 petitioners for U.S. citizenship who were naturalized yesterday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Toledo. Bankruptcy Judge Richard L. Speer presided over the ceremony.
Anneta Ferriera left the beaches of Guyana for Toledo because she and her family “wanted a better education, a better job, and a better way of life,” she said.
To celebrate her new citizenship, Mrs. Ferriera is planning a dinner for the residents of West Park Place, a Toledo retirement community where she works as a dining room supervisor.
The residents have been a great support, she said. One gave Mrs. Ferriera a pair of red, white, and blue earrings to wear to the ceremony.
“We're so proud of her. She works so hard,” said Mark Holmes, West Park's executive director. “It's really the classic American-dream story.”
The party cuisine will be all-American.
“Guyanan food is too spicy for them,” Mrs. Ferriera said.
After the oath of citizenship, Judge Speer offered some practical advice.
“Don't lose that certificate of naturalization. It's a hard road to get a new one. My wife is a naturalized citizen, and I speak from personal experience,” he said.
Also taking the oath of citizenship were:
Lubna Al Allaf, Syria; Eufracia Castro Bernal, Philippines; Patricia Del Socorro Carrillo, Mexico; Huai Bao Cen, the People's Republic of China; Anna Eun Sook Choi, Korea; Bouchra Salamah Doumet, Syria; Ramona Del Carmen Escobar, Nicaragua; Dib M. Eslaquit, Nicaragua; Charlene Allison Grant, Jamaica; Sandra Cristina Haslinger, Mexico; Alice Li-Ru Wang Shieh, Taiwan; Liliya Nikolayevna Johnson, Russia; Mustari Begum Karim, Bangladesh; Alev Kolca Kendrick, Turkey; Attiat Yacoub Khalil, Egypt; Hong Yan Li, the People's Republic of China; Jin Zhong Li, the People's Republic of China; Jun Liu, the People's Republic of China; Renato Evalobo Macapagal, the Philippines; Srinivas Mamidipaka, India; Vijaya Mamidipaka, India; Maria Guadalupe Martinez, Mexico; Faten Nemr Masoud, Qatar; Marwan Nemr Masoud, Palestine; Max Chau McVicker, Vietnam; Azedine Medhkour, Algeria; Dinia Medhkour, Algeria; Loubna Ali Nasser, Lebanon; Victor Edgar Perez, Mexico; Amar Singh Reen, India; Valentina Vladimirovna Rychka, Ukraine; Christina Sanson Sandoval, Mexico; Muhadean Khalefa Al Shamari, Iraq; Elsie Elizabeth Taylor, Nicaragua; Buenaventura Vega, Mexico.