It’s been more than 20 years since Guillermo Vidales Gutierrez left his family behind in Mexico.
He couldn’t be there to celebrate his children’s birthdays, or to comfort them when they hurt.
He couldn’t hold his wife close at night or shower her with kisses in the morning.
But every week for 20 years he showed his love by sending his family money that he had earned from the odd jobs he worked in the Toledo area.
On Tuesday, all those sacrifices finally paid off when Mr. Gutierrez, 50, of Norwalk took the oath of U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in U.S. District Court in Toledo.
He was among 30 people who were sworn in as new citizens.
“It’s been a hard life,” Mr. Gutierrez said after the ceremony. “But I came here looking for a better life and more opportunities. And I found them.”
In about four months his wife will be able to join him as a new U.S. citizen.
They hope their children, whose ages range from 22 to 26, will do the same.
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Speer called Tuesday’s event a “celebration of citizenship.”
“We should be flattered that these people want to join us,” Mr. Speer said during the citizenship ceremony. “There are approximately 250 countries in the world, and they chose us.”
Mr. Gutierrez, who currently works at a hotel in Sandusky, initially came to the United States on a work visa.
His goal was to find work so that he could support his family.
Cesar Angel, 22, of Jalisco, Mexico, had similar motives five years ago when he was smuggled illegally into the United States.
His goal was to find work to help support his parents and four siblings who are still living in Mexico.
That’s when his life began to take many unexpected turns: He found his first job at a Toledo restaurant.
It was there he met, and soon married, Marisela Angel, who was 19 at the time.
The newlyweds did not have much time to celebrate though. Mr. Angel was caught and deported to Mexico.
Mrs. Angel, who was then six months pregnant, joined her husband for a short period before returning to Ohio.
“I was able to get back to Ohio one month before our daughter was born,” said Mr. Angel, who currently works for an auto-parts manufacturer.
His long, tumultuous path to citizenship finally came to an end on Tuesday. Now his biggest dream is for the future of their 4-year-old daughter, Nadia.
“I want her to go to college and do everything she wants to do.”
The new Americans and their native countries are:
Belgium: Stephanie Anita Mol
Belize: Candelaria Roberts
Canada: Victoria Ann Bober, Niravkumar Dipaklal Parikh
Colombia: Jany Esther Paulett
Dominican Republic: Carlos Antonio Hernandez, Nilka Mateo
Ethiopia: Metsehet Eden Tamirat
Greece: Eftychia Papanikolaou
Guatemala: Karen Ivonne Susko
India: Rohit Kumar Gupta, Sandeep Kaur, Mital Mayankkumar Patel
Italy: Marco Riccardo Capelli
Jordan: Maysoun Ahmed Badawi
Kenya: Ann Wanjiru Njuguna, Stephen Richu Wambui, Charles Theuri Thuita
Lebanon: Ehab Nazem Abouadi
Mexico: Cesar Angel, Guillermo Vidales Gutierrez
Pakistan: Muhammad Iftikhar, Muhammad Ijaz, Muhammad Khalid
Syria: Bana Traboulssi
United Kingdom: Colin Yu, Kevin Xin Yu, Min Zhang
Venezuela: Jean Carlos Valderrama
Vietnam: Dantam Swan
Contact Federico Martinez at: email@example.com or 419-724-6154.