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Phoenix firefighter takes oath of allegiance, becomes US citizen

(KTAR Photo/Griselda Zetino)
LISTEN: Phoenix firefighter becomes a U.S. citizen

PHOENIX — Several years after taking the oath of service, a Phoenix firefighter took another oath.

Surrounded by other Phoenix firefighters, Nataliia Baker took the oath of allegiance to the United States and became an American citizen on Friday.

“I feel very lucky to be here and, of course, I feel very happy because my family from work is here,” Baker said after her naturalization ceremony at the U.S. District Court in downtown Phoenix.

“These guys have been so amazing, and they showed me how great this country can be.”

She added her co-workers exemplify “everything that I think the United States stands for – hard work, integrity and service.”

Baker came to the U.S. as a tourist 10 years ago and decided to stay after falling in love with the American culture and people.

The single mother of a 10-year-old started out working at an exercise gym. That’s where she met several firefighters who were training. After many conversations with them, she decided to become a firefighter herself.

She said in her native country of Ukraine, a woman could not dream of becoming a firefighter. But she found no such limitations exist in Phoenix.

She became a Phoenix firefighter in October 2015.

Baker said becoming a U.S. citizen is an accomplishment she’s proud of, but it was not an easy feat.

She said it took more than a year of filing paperwork and spending thousands of dollars.

Phoenix Firefighter Jim McNair was at Baker’s naturalization ceremony on Friday along with several others. He said Baker embodies the American dream.

“She is a single mom, she’s a female firefighter, she’s a brand new homeowner and on top of that she is an amazing mom to her daughter,” McNair said, adding she has worked hard for everything she has accomplished.

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