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Valerie Bahige officially becomes U.S. citizen after long delay due to COVID-19

Just after 4 p.m. May 7, 2021, Valerie Bahige realized a dream.

In Courtroom 1 of the Campbell County courthouse, he stood in a room filled with friends and family, raised his right hand and participated in a ritual almost as old as America itself. He swore the Oath of Allegiance, and with those 140 words, Bahige officially became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Valerie Bahige

Valerie Bahige picks up an American flag that was resting at his seat in the Campbell County Courthouse prior to the start of his Naturalization Ceremony on May 7.

Valerie Bahige

Valerie Bahige hugs his wife Sarah after becoming an American citizen following his naturalization ceremony.

Valerie Bahige

Valerie Bahige holds a copy of the Star Spangled-Banner and Pledge of Allegiance prior to the start of his Naturalization Ceremony May 7 at the Campbell County Courthouse.

Valerie Bahige

Scott Forister, from left, Bertine Bahige, Sarah Bahige and Amanda Forister laugh and chat while waiting for Valerie Bahige’s Naturalization Ceremony to begin May 7 at the Campbell County Courthouse.

Valerie Bahige

Valerie Bahige raises his right hand while stating the oath of allegiance to District Court Judge Stuart Healy during his Naturalization Ceremony May 7 at the Campbell County Courthouse.

(1) comment


With all the unrest and hatred in our United States, it was so refreshing to read the article about Valorie Bertine. How he genuinely wanted to become an American citizen and do it the right way. He and his brother both worked hard to do what was right not take advantage of the system. This is what it is all about and I applaud both of these young men in the high standards they have set for themselves. Welcome to America and may you grow to love it as many of us do!!

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