PENSACOLA — A Walton County firefighter/paramedic who came to the United States at the age of 18 became a U.S. citizen during a Friday naturalization ceremony in Pensacola.
"The best moment was holding the certificate in my hand," said Alejandro Osorio, who had been sworn in less than a month earlier as part of the Walton County Sheriff's Office, according to a news release from that office.
"To me, it's not just a piece of paper," Osorio said. "To me, it's my ticket to a second chance at life."
Born in Colombia, Osorio came to the United States at the age of 18 when his father brought him to Hollywood, Florida, to live with his grandmother. Once in the United States, Osorio went to work and put himself through school at The Broward Fire Academy.
"I was raised in a low-income family in Colombia," Osorio said in the Sheriff's Office news release. "The opportunity to come to the United States is the best thing that's ever happened to my family and me."
Osorio was among 81 people, representing 38 countries, who were in Pensacola on Friday to take the oath to become American citizens.