December 11th, 2013
County Clerk Benson Administers Oath at Naturalization Ceremony
Oath of Allegiance Administered to 85 new U.S. citizens
GOSHEN - Orange County Clerk Donna L. Benson administered the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony today hosted by the New York State Supreme Court on Main Street in Goshen, presided over by the Honorable Robert Freehill, Justice of the Supreme Court.
“On behalf of the people of Orange County, I would like to congratulate our new citizens on their tremendous accomplishment,” said County Executive Diana. “We are honored that their first few moments as a U.S. citizen are being spent here in Orange County.”
Eighty-five people, the youngest being 22 years of age and the oldest 79, from 44 different 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 the laws of the United States.
Clerk Benson said, “It is an honor for me to be here with you this morning. Each of you has made sacrifices to arrive at this momentous occasion today. Whatever those sacrifices are, we’re glad you made them.”
Today’s ceremony was special in that it marked the final time County Clerk Benson will administer the Oath of Allegiance, as she will be retiring at the end of the 2013. Clerk Benson has served as Orange County Clerk since 1998 and in that time has sworn in over 6,000 new citizens.
Judge Freehill welcomed the new citizens and said, “This is a momentous occasion. Today you make whole the promise of the American dream.”
The Hon. Daniel Depew, Supervisor of the Town of Wallkill was the ceremony’s guest speaker. “What you’ve done today didn’t just happen, you made it happen.” Supervisor Depew went on to say, “We all come from different walks of life, but certain principles unite us.”
Other guests included Chairman of the Orange County Legislature Michael R. Pillmeier (3rd Legislative District), Frank Fornario, Town of Blooming Grove Supervisor, Louisa Ingrassia, Town of Wallkill Clerk, and Genevieve Kessler from Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s Office.
The New York Organ Donor Network is part of the Orange County Naturalization Ceremony. For more information, please visit www.donatelifegroupoc.org. At Clerk Benson’s invitation, Cheryl Curtis, a New York Organ Donor Network Volunteer, shared her son David’s story of needing an organ transplant, and asked the new citizens to consider organ donation.
Deputy County Clerk Mary S. Coleman, Deputy County Clerk Mary Beth Greene, Naturalization Clerk Joanne Aversano, along with the County Clerk’s staff organizes ‘A Celebration of Citizenship’ six times a year to welcome our nation’s newest citizens.