FINDLAY - Twenty-one new Americans took the oath of U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony Wednesday at the University of Findlay.
More than 400 people, including relatives and friends of the new citizens, attended the ceremony, which took place inside the university's Koehler Fitness and Recreation Complex. Students from the college and hundreds of high school students from Findlay, Arcadia, Arlington and Riverdale were bused in for the event.
Lena Mae Green Hanson, 53, of Jamaica, said she emigrated to the United States seven years ago.
Her husband, Frederick Hanson, 71, also of Jamaica, arrived in 2001 and received his citizenship in 2003.
Today was Mrs. Hanson's big day.
"This is a special day for me," Mrs. Hanson, a Toledo resident, said. "America has a lot more opportunities than we had back home. Here we have more freedom and more climates. In Jamaica, it's summer all the time. The first time I saw winter here I cried."
Vernelis K. Armstrong, a U.S. magistrate who presided over the event, encouraged the new citizens to vote and become involved in their communities.
That message was especially meaningful to Mrs. Hanson, who works as a nurse assistant.
"I want to volunteer at the Veterans Clinic but I couldn't do that until I was a citizen," she said. "I just want to give back to the country for giving me citizenship."
-- Federico Martinez