GOSHEN - Orange County Clerk Donna L. Benson recently administered the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony hosted by the New York State Supreme Court on Main Street in Goshen, presided by the Honorable Nicholas De Rosa, Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
"I welcome our new fellow Americans," said Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana. "We are honored that your first few moments as a U.S. citizen are here in Orange County. Good luck to you all."
Eighty people, the youngest being 19 years of age and the oldest 76, from 34 countries took the Oath of Allegiance, the final part of the naturalization process, renouncing all foreign allegiance while pledging to support and defend the American Constitution and laws of the United States.
Clerk Benson said, "Whether you have been here for a long time or a short time, you have all made sacrifices to be here with us this morning. Whatever those sacrifices are, we’re glad that you made them, and we’re glad to share in this moment with you."
Judge De Rosa told the story of how his family immigrated to America from Italy. He said his father told him as a boy, "Never forget where you came from, and never forget why you came to America."
Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois welcomed the new citizens as well. Sheriff DuBois said, "On behalf of the men and women of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, we congratulate you and welcome you as new citizens."
The Mayor of Middletown Joseph DeStefano was the main guest speaker. Mayor DeStefano spoke of his family’s journey from Italy to America. He congratulated the new citizens and said, "You all endured challenges and made a choice to become a citizen. We welcome you."
Other guests included Mayor Brian Maher of Walden, representing Senator William J. Larkin, Jr.; Louisa Gonzalez, representing Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther (AD 100); and, Oscar Dunham, representing Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18).
Ellen Dunn, a New York Organ Donor Network Volunteer, addressed the audience and asked the new citizens to consider organ donation. She told the story how her life was saved by an organ donation. The New York Organ Donor Network is now part of the Orange County Naturalization Ceremony.
Deputy County Clerk Mary S. Coleman, Deputy County Clerk Mary Beth Greene, along with the County Clerk’s staff organizes ‘A Celebration of Citizenship’ six times a year to welcome and congratulate our nation’s newest citizens after their final meeting.