THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Naturalization was a family affair Friday for a Brazilian engineer, his wife, and their 20-year-old daughter.
Jose Carlos Porcello Da Silva, Maria Berenice Ghignatti Warth, and Camila Warth Da Silva were among 27 people sworn in simultaneously as U.S. citizens inside the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.
Mr. Da Silva said he came to America with help from the Dana Corp., which had previously employed him as an engineer at one of its Brazilian plants. The company brought him to Toledo about 15 years ago. He has since left the company but found another job as an engineer in Farmington Hills, Mich. He said he commutes between there and the family's home in Sylvania.
His wife raved about the Toledo area, saying it's "so much more safer here" than the city where they had lived in Brazil.
Quality of life was so important to her that she gave up her career as a lawyer in Brazil so that she and her husband could raise their daughter in Sylvania, Ms. Ghignatti Warth said.
"It's a wonderful opportunity we gave our daughter," she said. "When you are a foreigner, you don't take it for granted."
Many others beamed at the thought of becoming America's newest citizens yesterday.
One was Modesto Gomez, 65, of Toledo, the latest of several people from an extended family in Mexico. He lived in the country for 26 years, with occasional spurts in Texas, before becoming a citizen.
"This country's wonderful," he said.
U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary, who presided over the ceremony, urged the new citizens to follow the "American ideas and ideals" of sacrifice that were exemplified by his father's generation during World War II, one which former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw described in his best-selling book, The Greatest Generation.
The judge said America can indeed be a land of opportunity for immigrants and minorities.
"You are the keepers of the flame of liberty," he said, referring to such iconic symbols as the Statue of Liberty.
The keynote speaker, Rubina Farid Khalil, who became a U.S. citizen last month, said America "was like paradise" when she came to this country from Kenya 21 years ago.
She said she came to America to get a life-saving surgery for an ailing son.
"I thank God every day for the opportunity to come here," she said. "The reason I stand here today as an American citizen is because of prayers answered."
Those naturalized and their countries of origin are:
Brazil - Camila Warth Da Silva, Jose Carlos Porcello Da Silva, and Maria Berenice Ghignatti Warth.
Egypt - Fadyh Mohamd El Biram.
Germany - Rosa Tolles.
Hungary - Anna Maria Ludanyi, Regina Smith.
India - Cecilia Zohmingliani Hauhnar, Vaishali Paresh Lad.
Jordan - Mohammed Ahmad Ghanim, Raniah Z. Al Jaouni, Mohammed Marwan Maaieh.
Lebanon - Bassel Ali Moussa.
Mexico - Ernesto Valdez Alarcon, Maria Teresa Cuellar, Guadalupe Soledad Gomez, Modesto Gomez, Martin Gerardo Gutierrez Medina, and Mireya Campos Ortiz.
People's Republic of China - Ke Du, Shiying Liang.
Phillipines - Ammie Mendoza Buno, Gany Mendoza Micua.
Poland - Krzysztof Jurczuk.
Thailand - Rujira Pantoomano, Krissada Wongsa.
Vietnam - Tu Manh Tran.
- Tom Henry