New U.S. citizens sworn in at Crater Lake National Park

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, July 24 2014 at 6:27 PM, Updated: Thu, July 24 2014 at 6:39 PM

Crater Lake National Park, Ore. - There are 17 new American citizens in Oregon tonight, following an emotional ceremony at Crater Lake National Park.

Gloria Davis was born in Guatemala - but at noon, she became a U.S. Citizen...

"One of the greatest things that could happen - I've been wanting to do it, and finally this day is here."

John McCaffrey is from Scotland - but he now calls the United States home...

"I loved it from the moment I got here.  Fantastic place.  Ate my first hamburger when we landed."

17 people from 9 different countries took the oath of allegiance, with Crater Lake as the unforgettable backdrop.

Evelyn Sahli of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains why video crews were on hand to document the event...

"We're filming a video that's going to be shown at every administrative naturalization ceremony throughout the country."

Mark Rout of New Zealand has been balancing school with citizenship classes...

"I think it's a pretty great thing.  It's something that we've worked very hard for, it's taken a lot of time, a lot of risk - and it's something that we're very glad to have pay off."

The new citizens provide a unique perspective.

"I think Americans are the most critical of themselves."  Says Richard Rout of New Zealand.  "But no, they're well liked around the world."

"All the different cultures that we have in this country really contribute to the success of the country, in my belief."  Adds John McCaffrey.

Gloria Davis says she felt bad when she was unable to serve on a jury in Grants Pass - and she hopes to get a second chance...

"Next time, I can serve."

This is the second year that Crater Lake has hosted a naturalization ceremony.

About 7 thousand people are sworn in as U.S. Citizens in Oregon every year.

Nationwide, that figure jumps to about 650 thousand.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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