BUTTE - America the Beautiful welcomed 25 new citizens this week in a naturalization ceremony in Butte.
The new citizens came from Germany, Canada and even Burkina Faso, Africa. One native of Ireland had been living in the U.S. for almost 50 years before getting his citizenship.
“I’m very proud that I finally took the steps to do it. Finally did,” said John F. Nealey.
The Great Falls resident said he’s looking forward to doing his civic duties as an American citizen.
“I’ve always wanted to vote in this country and never been able to for 50 years,” said Nealey.
His family said it took him many years of soul searching to take the big step to becoming a citizen.
“Something changed within John himself where he decided I’m now invested emotional and wholeheartedly,” said Ann Nealey.
The family also found it appropriate for an Irishman to become a naturalized citizen in Butte – a city known as a bedrock for Irish immigration and culture.
“Most welcoming city in Montana, because of the Irish,” said Nealey.