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Published: 7/5/2009

42 take oath as citizens in patriotic celebration

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ARCHBOLD - When Yun-Ming Lin returns to his chemistry beakers at the University of Toledo and Lalit Gauri Patil to managing the Target store in Sandusky they'll be different people - American citizens.

The two were among 42 who were naturalized in a U.S. District Court ceremony Saturday at Sauder Village in Archbold.

Mr. Lin, a UT assistant professor of chemistry and formerly of China, has been in the United States 17 years, starting as a graduate student.

"I decided I needed to get involved in voting," Mr. Lin said.

He specializes in catalysts that make chemical reactions less wasteful when making pharmaceuticals. His lab is about to patent its first invention.

"It's under the gigantic umbrella of 'green' chemistry," Mr. Lin said.

"I like this country. I love it here," he said.

Ms. Patil, 33, came to the United States from India 11 years ago as a wife and later got divorced.

"My jobs, my friends are here now. After living here 11 years it's hard to go home," said Ms. Patil.

She said she studied so hard to pass the American history test that "my friends were making fun of me because I knew more history than they did."

The ceremony, held outdoors on the Village Green, was much more elaborate than she expected, Ms. Patil said.

It included musicians, the Village Strings, performing "America the Beautiful."

"It was awesome," she said.

Also taking the oath was Hafiza Mohamad Abdouni, 75, of Lebanon, who lived in the United States from 1981 to 1993, when she returned to Lebanon.

She came back to the United States in 2002 after her husband died.

Ms. Abdouni was helped by her son, Abdo Abdouni, of Columbus, who has a brother and sister as well as cousins in Toledo.

"Our family had several generations who were here before us. All my family are here," Mr. Abdouni said.

"She's very happy and she loves America," said Mr. Abdouni, who helped translate for her.

People from 21 countries took the oath of citizenship, vowing to "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen."

The new citizens also agreed to defend the Constitution, bear arms on behalf of America when required by law, and perform noncombatant service in the armed forces or "work of national importance" when required by law.

U.S. District Judge James Carr, who presided in the ceremony, strongly urged the citizens to register to vote.

Guest speaker John Jemmott, 66, of nearby Pettisville, Ohio, came to America from Guyana in 1976 and was naturalized last year.

He urged the new citizens to contribute their time to important work.

He volunteers at Sauder Village, where his wife, Kris Jemmott, is the director of historical operations.

"I cast my vote for the first time last year," Mr. Jemmott said, wiping an eye. "I became an American."

The naturalization ceremony was a first for Sauder Village, which specializes in depicting the lives of pioneers to Ohio, many of them immigrants to this nation.

Mrs. Jemmott conceived the idea of hosting a naturalization ceremony at Sauder Village when her husband was going through the process.

She said the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) helped make the arrangements and she wound up discussing citizenship and naturalization on the phone with Judge Carr.

Sauder Village provided new stands, made by its woodworkers, for the international flags and gave new citizens free passes to explore the village, which presents rural life as it was in Ohio from 1800 to 1910.

Those who were naturalized, listed by their countries of origin, are:

Canada - Patrick Norbert Briand, Barry Leonard Gordon, Pamela Margaret Murchison.

China - Zhang Cheng Guo, Yun-Ming Lin, Junfeng Shang, Yaping Sun, Yongqing Wang, Ying Xie.

Germany - Ina Irena Baker.

India - Sanjay Mangubhai Desai, Rupinder Kaur, Geeta Nilesh Neve, Nilesh Madhukar Neve, Lalit Gauri Patil, Srinivas Prasad Ravi, Joseph Wells, Neeti Wells.

Iran - Sedigheh Khademi.

Iraq - Sohad Hsun.

Israel - Rony Ben-Yehuda.

Jordan - Maher Odeh Salameh.

Lebanon - Hafiza Mohamad Abdouni, Aref Hussein El Khechen, Nizar Ghazi Merhi.

Malaysia - Anthony Chee-Shing Koh, Raymond Wai Kit Luk.

Mexico - Yolanda Diaz, Antonio Ortiz.

Nigeria - Gladys Obiageli Nwabuzor.

Pakistan - Alamdar Hussain Kazmi, Wajiha Batool Kazmi.

Poland - Danuta Gnida.

Russia - Lidiya Vasilyevna Kosareva, Yelena Arkadyevna Schwartz, Konstantin Gennadiy Sushenko.

South Africa - Caroline Jane Streak-Jensen.

South Korea - Daniel Park.

Trinidad and Tobago - Stephen Llewellyn.

Ukraine - Lyuda Aleksandra Pasechnyk.

United Kingdom - Stephen John Lazenby.

Vietnam - Thai Thi Tran.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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