DARKE COUNTY — Magdalena “Maggie” Bradford, 35, was all smiles and boundless energy as she spoke of new beginnings for her and her nine-year-old daughter, Katarzyna “Katie”, on Monday.
It was an occasion for multiple celebrations just days from America celebrating Independence Day. The mother and daughter were moving into a new home only months after Bradford passed her U.S. citizenship test.
Originally from Poland, Bradford shared how she met her husband, a sailor from Darke County, in Greece, and moved to America to be with him.
For Bradford, gaining citizenship was a long process but friends and co-workers helped her along the way. Some of those co-workers came from her time working in the garden center at Lowe’s Greenville.
“They would be on the walkie-talkies asking me questions, citizenship questions,” said Bradford with a chuckle, “like who is the president of the United States.”
A fan of the outdoors, Bradford works not only in the garden center at Lowe’s during the summer season but also Spencer Landscaping and Downing Fruit Farm. She is also a full time student at Edison State Community College studying criminal justice.
It was important for Bradford to understand the process, procedures, and rules being from a different country. Her goal is to be a juvenile probation officer stating she believes in the rehabilitation process when it is early enough.
“When they are still 15 or 16 you can still help them, you can still make their lives so much better,” said Bradford, who wants to work probation close to home, noting the multiple opportunities for youth to work in the largest farming community in the state of Ohio – Darke County. “You can be outside in the beautiful green area, doing something that is important for everyone.”
“It’s not just helping, it is learning,” continued Bradford, “And it is keeping you busy, keeping kids out of trouble.”
Though juvenile probation work is something she has always wanted to do, Bradford also wants to continue with her other jobs given her love for the outdoors.
Back to her citizenship, Bradford shared, “This was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. I accomplished something, finished it all the way through and it was something I wanted to do from the time I got here.”
“I’m officially an American sweetheart,” continued Bradford who gained citizenship on February 14. “It was a very special day for me.”
Though currently busy with moving, Bradford plans to celebrate her accomplishments in a few weeks with family and friends. She leaves encouragement for those wanting to gain U.S. citizenship.
“It’s doable, I always tell everyone if there is a will, there’s a way,” Bradford said. “Get yourself a group of people [who] care and love you. They are going to make you go through it, and they are going to help you go through it, and they are going to do everything that they can to help you go through it. It’s not difficult.”
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.