Brand New Citizen

If you happen to overhear someone with a distinct Scottish accent singing I’m Proud To Be An American, it’s a good bet that PebbleCreek’s newest American Citizen Tony Ryan is somewhere near. This popular patriotic song is very dear to Tony because on July 4, he became a citizen of the United States of America at the 31st annual Independence Day Naturalization Ceremony at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.

With his son, Mike, cousin Trish and her husband Mike as well as a large contingent of friends from PebbleCreek in attendance, a visibly proud, emotional and excited Tony recited the Oath of Allegiance administered by John M. Ramirez, field office director of the United States Citizenship Immigration Services. Photos taken at the event moments after the ceremony show Tony smiling from ear to ear and waving the American flag amidst a sea of other citizenship candidates from 63 countries.

Tony emigrated from his native Scotland in the mid-1970s, but it was not until just recently that he began the process of becoming an American citizen.

“My daughter was about to be married and she encouraged me to pursue citizenship so she would not have to explain to her future children why their grandfather was a foreigner,” Tony jokingly confided at the July 7 PebbleCreek Singles Club meeting, where he was recognized by President Judy Maloney and applauded by the members.

The celebration of Tony’s first Independence Day continued late into the evening of July 7 at a potluck gathering hosted by good friends Kristy and Tom Cusack. A resident of PebbleCreek since 2012, Tony’s outgoing and affable personality has attracted a large group of friends, as was evidenced by the turnout of more than 60 PebbleCreekers who gathered in the Eagle’s Nest Ballroom to celebrate Tony’s first Independence Day in his new home country.

The highlight of the evening was a slideshow, complete with patriotic songs and photos of the naturalization ceremony and an American history trivia game prepared by good friend Daniel Miczek.

Son, Mike, summed up his father’s exuberant reaction to all the fanfare and the plethora of experiences associated with becoming a proud American.

“This is something my dad will never forget,” he said.

Pat Milich

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