Thursday, September 13, 2018




Putnam County residents proud to become Americans

Marco Maita beams with pride with his wife, Maritza and son, Mark

CARMEL – Fifty of America’s newest citizens recited their oath of allegiance to the United States and received a rousing ovation at the historic Putnam Courthouse in Carmel.

Wednesday’s naturalization ceremony, attended by family and friends of the new citizens, was the latest this year for Putnam County following a 20 year hiatus thanks to the efforts of County Clerk Michael Bartolotti.

America’s newest citizens come from all corners of the earth including Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Bhutan, Ecuador, Russia, Ghana, Nepal, South Korea, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ireland, Slovakia, Italy, Kosovo, Guatemala, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico and the Philippines.

Marco Maita emigrated from his native Ecuador to the U.S. “for love.” The Carmel man was accompanied by his wife, Maritza and the couple’s seven-year-old son, Mark.

“This is my dream,” Maita said. “I am so proud to be an American citizen of the United States.”

For Astride Rodrigues of Putnam Valley, citizenship had been a life’s dream. “The time had come. I figured why not?” said the soon to be 84-year-old native of Portugal as she received hugs and kisses from her three daughters, Ana Stempel, Lydia and Leonore Rodrigues.

Similar sentiments were expressed by April Gonnerman of Brewster who was born in the Philippines. “I have worked and studied long hours for this moment,” she said while waving Old Glory.

The hour-long ceremony was officiated by Putnam County Senior Judge John Sweeny who told the SRO audience, “You all have your own talents and ambitions. Get involved in our great country and wonderful community. Today is a day for you. Your citizenship means so much for our country.”

Bartolotti praised the 50 new citizens assembled telling them, “This day is for each of you. Our population has become more diversified in recent years. Many of us take our citizenship for granted. You have strived to become American citizens. Today is your day. Thank you for choosing to become American citizens.”

County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s message to the naturalized citizens was straight and to the point. “Love and gratitude and goodness prevail in this nation. Welcome to the USA!”


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