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Ankeny veteran watches old interpreter get naturalized in Cedar Rapids

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Overseas snip
Ahmad, middle, and Greiner, right, overseas in Afghanistan.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - Seventy-four new American citizens were naturalized at the National Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids on Friday.

It was a day of celebration for friends and family, who've seen loved ones put in the hard work for their citizenship.

"Seeing him here --getting his certificate, doing his oath-- that's just pretty cool. He's living his dream right now," Kent Greiner said, who was watching Farid Ahmad get naturalized.

Greiner worked with Ahmad, as an interpreter, when he was deployed for the National Guard in Afghanistan in 2010. After getting a visa in 2013, Ahmad moved to Iowa and lived with the Greiners.

"I saw them hunting and farming and all that and I was like, 'I'm going to make Iowa my home,'" Ahmad said.

Ahmad, middle, and Greiner, right, overseas in Afghanistan.

While he just got his citizenship Friday, he's had an American name as long as the two have known each other.

"He said, 'Just call me Frank,'" Greiner said, remembering when they met overseas.

Immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan were the most highly represented Friday, with 13 candidates from each country.

After the ceremony, new citizens met with the League of Women Voters and representatives from the U.S. Postal Service; getting help registering to vote and applying for passports.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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