23 take oath as US citizens

Imperial Pacific’s counsel Butcher serves as the guest speaker
Posted on Jan 23 2019


U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, Imperial Pacific International LLC in-house counsel Kelley Butcher, seated left, and Immigration Services Officer Shelia Kelty, seated right, join the 23 new U.S. citizens in a group photo during a naturalization ceremony yesterday in federal court. (Ferdie De La Torre)

For businessman Wilfredo G. Ching, obtaining U.S. citizenship is “something fulfilling” as he waited for eight years.

The 64-year-old Ching got a green card after his son, Public School System budget and finance director Christopher Ching, petitioned him years ago.

Ching’s other son is currently staying in Florida.

With his age, Ching prefers to stay on Saipan rather than going to the U.S. mainland.

Born in Leyte, but grew up in Quezon City, Philippines, Ching has been living on Saipan since 1986. His first job on the island was an accountant for the late businessman Anthony Pellegrino.

Ching currently owns Perfect Set Jewelry Store, Gene’s Barber Shop, and some trading businesses.

Carey Hong Blalock was overwhelmed as she took her oath as a U.S. citizen during the naturalization ceremony in the U.S. District Court for the NMI yesterday.

“I’m so honored to be an American citizen,” said the 38-year-old Blalock, who hails from South Korea.

Blalock said her Korean name is Soyoung but she changed it because when she moved to Saipan.

It’s good to have her name Soyoung as she is “young forever,” but on the island everybody knows her as Carey, said the beaming Blalock.

“I’m happy and I have a brand-new passport,” Blalock said, adding that she got her citizenship as she got married to businessman Harry Blalock five years ago.

She said she is now free to visit her son this summer who is staying in the U.S. mainland.

Blalock first arrived on island in February 2010, where she worked as a store supervisor with Christian Dior at the Duty Free Shoppers.

At present, she is working as a luxury brand supervisor at DFS.

Cheng Wei, 22, said he was so excited and honored to become a U.S. citizen.

Wei, who is from China, arrived on the island in 2011 as a 16-year-old student.

Wei’s U.S. citizen father petitioned him to get a green card.

Wei, who is currently working as a sales associate at DFS, plans to pursue his college degree in the U.S. mainland.

Ching, Blalock, and Wei were among the 23 persons who took oath as U.S. citizens at yesterday’s naturalization ceremony.

Imperial Pacific International LLC’s in-house counsel Kelley Butcher served as the guest speaker at the ceremony. She used to work as a law clerk for Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo, an assistant public defender, and in-house legal counsel for PSS.

Butcher talked about the life of Martin Luther King Jr., who was known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience.

The nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. last Monday.

Butcher noted that the CNMI only started celebrating Martin Luther King Day in 2006.

Butcher also shared the life story of her late father, Dr. Richard Butcher.

Dr. Butcher, who died in November 2016 in Orlando, was a known family practitioner venerated for his work with the poor and disadvantaged in southeastern San Diego.

Dr. Butcher was called “champion of the underserved.” Many years ago, he won the “Practitioner of the Year Award.”

At the naturalization ceremony, the court played a video of Martin Luther King Jr. when he delivered his famous speech “I Have A Dream.”

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, who administered the oath for the new citizens, said Isaac Newton was quoted as saying, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on your shoulders of giants.”

Manglona said for her it’s translated as “who we are because of the hard work of the people who came before us.”

Manglona said she subscribes to this statement because without people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Butcher, both wonderful men peacefully advocating for everyone’s civil rights, she thinks she would not have had the honor and privilege of serving the nation in the federal judiciary.

Aside from Ching, Blalock, and Wei, the 20 other new citizens were Eladia Gabut Muna, Marina Tubig Reyes, Dolores Mabaet Olino, Qixing Zhang, Bartolome Simon Ordonez, Jesela Anduyan Cruz, Myung Koo Shin, Dan Wang, Jiah Lee Iguel, Gaudelia Verbo Gambon, Hongyun Li Masga, Bryan Rosal Paracale, Delia Barrogo Johnson, Fengmei Li, Reynante Masinegra Odal, Marvin Santos De Belen, Gerardo Leoncio Paguiligan, Ailene Cinco Alanan, Florencia Sunio Aguon, and Mengjuan Liu.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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