Tri-Village News

Celebration at Spagio

Chef Hubert becomes U.S. citizen

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PAUL VERNON/THISWEEKNEWS
Spagio Chef Hubert Seifert and his wife, Helga, who both recently became U.S. citizens, in their restaurant at 1295 Grandview Ave.
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Spagio has undoubtedly been the site for many a celebration, but none like the one held Nov. 4.

Chef Hubert Seifert, Spagio's owner, was sworn in as an American citizen during a naturalization ceremony witnessed by a number of friends and employees.

The oath was administered by Federal Judge George C. Smith.

Seifert's wife, Helga, became an American citizen at the beginning of October.

"It's hard to describe the feeling when you take the oath and it's probably hard for people to understand how it feels unless you've done it yourself," Seifert said. "It's very humbling. I was very close to tears. We are very happy and very proud to be Americans."

The Seiferts came to the U.S. 33 years ago. In 1981, Mr. Seifert opened his first business, the Gourmet Market, in the same space Spagio now occupies.

"Grandview has been so good to us," he said. "We loved this community from the beginning. It reminded us of our hometown in Germany -- a nice residential community."

Both Seiferts had their green cards, "but we finally said, we want to become Americans," Seifert said. "When you love a community, you want to be able to do your civic duty, go vote or serve on a jury."

Most people who become citizens are sworn in as part of a large ceremony.

Mrs. Seifert said approximately 262 people were sworn in during her ceremony.

"It was very emotional, in some ways even more because so many people were being sworn in," she said. "It's an experience you hold close to your heart."

Standing by her husband a month later as he took the oath, "I felt like I was being sworn in twice. It was very special."

Mr. Seifert said he felt lucky to be able to have his ceremony witnessed "by friends who have been coming (to his restaurant) all these years and my co-workers."

For Smith and naturalization officer Frances Green to agree to come out on a Sunday for his personal ceremony "was an incredible honor," Seifert said.

Smith's daughter and his daughter went to school together, he said.

The year-long process to become a U.S. citizen, including taking a citizenship test, was arduous, Seifert said.

"It was a challenge, but it was worth it," he said.

 

 

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