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Published: Saturday, 10/23/2004

23 immigrants become Americans during naturalization ceremony

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Abelardo Torres Saucedo, formerly of Mexico, is hugged by his granddaughter Christina Arnold after the ceremony. Abelardo Torres Saucedo, formerly of Mexico, is hugged by his granddaughter Christina Arnold after the ceremony.
ALLAN DETRICH / BLADE Enlarge

No words were needed to express the pride Naiku Shripati Khandekar and Shashikala Naiku Khandekar felt when they received their U.S. citizenship certificates yesterday, but Mrs. Khandekar wanted to say it anyway.

"We're proud to be U.S. citizens now. It is a great feeling," Mrs. Khandekar said, looking at her husband, who was nodding and smiling in agreement. "We did dream of coming here. I think this is one of the best countries for freedom, liberty, and justice."

The Toledo couple were two of the 23 immigrants who became U.S. citizens during yesterday's naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse in downtown Toledo presided over by bankruptcy Judge Richard Speer.

"Today is a celebration," Judge Speer said. "It's a time when you go to court, walk out, and everybody feels good."

Mrs. Khandekar, 50, said she felt good knowing that her children would have opportunities living in the United States, which is why she and Mr. Khandekar, 62, moved here from India eight years ago.

"It's a wonderful place of freedom and rights," Mrs. Khandekar said.

Alexandra Olubunmi Omitowoju, of Lima, Ohio, who also became a citizen yesterday, said she moved to the United States 12 years ago because she too wanted freedom.

"It's a country that really takes care of its people," the native of Nigeria said, standing by her husband, Olayinka, who became a citizen last month.

"We just think it's a great country to raise kids," Mr. Omitowoju said.

Living in a great place to raise children is also important to Kerstin Isabel Revuelta Reinfeld, 36, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The new citizen moved to the United States from Spain when she was 5 years old. Though she has also lived in Austria, she said she wants to stay and raise her children in the United States.

"I feel more American than anything else," Mrs. Reinfeld said. "I plan on staying here for the rest of my life."

The following people, listed alphabetically by former country, took the oath of citizenship yesterday:

Canada - Patsy Sharon Page

Germany - Scarlett Meike Westcott

Hungary - Beata Nemeth O'Rourke

India - Naiku Shripati Khandekar, Shashikala Naiku Khandekar, and Maheshkumar Shantilal Patel

Jordan - Tarek Mustafa Abu Mathkour

Lebanon - Amer Mohamed Singer

Mexico - Ramiro Luna Ramirez, Ernesto Alonso Prado Robles, and Abelardo Torres Saucedo

Netherlands - Johanna Hermina Parrish

Nigeria - Alexandra Olubunmi Omitowoju

People's Republic of China - Songying Mao and Helley Hui Zhang

Philippines - Jesus Camara Villaruz, Jr.

Spain - Kerstin Isabel Revuelta Reinfeld

Taiwan - Eddy Wang

Turkey - Muhsin Ozbay

Ukraine - Sofya Borisovna Fridman

United Kingdom - David Terence Atkins and Nita Upendra Patel

Uzbekistan - Igor Muratov

The following people took the oath of citizenship Oct. 15:

Bosnia-Herzegovina - Suvada Hadzovic

Canada - Mary Elizabeth Dematteo and Mohamed Abdel Hamid Nasr

Colombia - Irledy Elena Mysinger

Dominican Republic - Issa Beatriz Mercedes

India - Rajwinder Kaur, Divya Maheshkumar Patel, Jayshree Ashok Patel, Reshma Chintu Patel, Ushaben Maheshkumar Patel, Suresh Vasantha Rajasekaran, and Sasikala Thirumazhisai Shanmugam

Jordan - Munier Mohammed Said Nazzal

Laos - Tony Paphanchith

Lebanon - Salim Michael Al Baff, Souad Aref Itawi, and Ghada Alwan Jarouche

Malaysia - Grace Miller

Pakistan - Farooq Kalim

People's Republic of China - Maorong Li Lancaster and Li Lui

Philippines - Eladio Hernandez Buno

Tanzania - Wilson Leonard Mutabihirwa

Ukraine - Tatyana Church

Yugoslavia - Nedzad Hadzovic

Contact Erika Ray at:

eray@theblade.com

or 419-724-6088.



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