ELKINS, W.Va. – 19 people underwent the naturalization process on Friday to become United States citizens.
The ceremony took place in Elkins at the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. While there normally aren’t a lot of great days in a courtroom, this is an exception to some.
“It’s a tremendous honor in all honesty and it’s quite a humbling day every year,” Chief Judge Thomas Kleeh said. “It’s our best day in federal court, as you might imagine, a lot of smiling faces and it truly is a humbling experience being part of that and welcoming all of our new citizens.”
Kleeh was apart of the ceremony to welcome new citizens, who come from 14 different countries around the world. Some like Mohammad Abdullah Saleh Hassan Alhab can’t find the words to describe what it means to them.
“I don’t know how to explain for you that because I feel great, I’m happy,” Alhab said.
Alhab came to the United States from Yemen and is overjoyed with this opportunity. Gayle Pennington, originally from Canada, has lived in the U.S. and West Virginia for most of her life, but she decided she finally wanted to be a U.S. citizen.
“As time passed this has really become my home and I love West Virginia,” Pennington said. “I had mountains in my life previously in Canada and I always wanted to retire to mountains so I’m here now, this is my home.”
Now all 19 citizens can live out the “American Dream” in the “Land of Opportunity.”