A Homewood resident moved more than 2,000 miles away from his home in Trinidad to start a new life and seize opportunity.
Nearly 10 years later, Keith Finlay was granted Unites States citizenship but said it wasn’t an easy journey.
Finley officially became a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony in April. At the ceremony, Finlay and other new citizens took an oath of allegiance to the United States.
“To accomplish this was one of the proudest moments of my life,” he said.
Finlay’s naturalization followed a series of tests and interviews to determine if he was qualified to be a U.S. citizen.
During the naturalization process, officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stressed the rights and responsibilities that all citizens – both Americans by birth and by choice -should exercise, honor and respect.
Rights include the freedom to express ourselves, to worship as we wish, to vote and run for elected office and to a prompt and fair trial by jury. Responsibilities include supporting and defending the U.S. Constitution, paying taxes, serving on juries when called and defending the nation if the need arises.
Finlay’s long road to citizenship started in December 2007 when he came to the United States on a fiancé visa. He met his wife while she was on vacation in the island of Tobago.
“I saw her walk into a store that I was in. We started to chat and here we are,” Finlay said. “We dated for a year-and-a-half then decided to get married.”
Finlay said he’s also proud of working as a personal trainer at Chiropractic Care in Homewood. He has been an employee for seven months and said the people he works with makes it easy to love his job.
“They appreciate me and the best thing you can have is being appreciated by people you work for,” Finlay said. “It gives you great pride in wanting to go to work to do more and be better.”
Not only are the employees an important part of his job, but so are the clients. Finlay stressed his goal is to make them feel better than how they did before they came in.
“The most important thing is to make sure they leave with a smile on their face,” Finlay said.
Dr. Ralph Kruse, Chiropractic Care owner and clinic director, says he had a patient who knew Finley’s work as a personal trainer at the H-F Racquet Club and recommended him to work at this office.
Kruse said after reviewing his resume and conducting an interview, he was immediately added to their staff.
“The patients appreciate his knowledge, professionalism, as well as his great sense of humor,” Kruse said. “He is a true pleasure to work with and a welcome addition to our healthcare team.”
Finley explained that when he arrived in the United States, it was important to have a particular mindset in order to take advantage of the opportunities that were presented to him.
“I came here with two certifications and today I have 10,” Finlay said. “You can come here without ambition and end up doing nothing or you can have drive and achieve the things you want to.”
But Finlay said even with the accomplishments that he has made thus far, he still has room to grow.
“When I look at myself, I see myself as a green fruit that never gets ripe. Once you get ripe all you can do is get rotten and fall off,” Finlay said. “I look at myself as always growing and always looking to get better.”