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Belarus-Born Sacramento Firefighter Becomes US Citizen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A young man who serves the community is now officially a part of it after a naturalization ceremony on Monday.

It's a day Artur Lutsyk dreamed about since he was a little boy.

"It's a whole lot of emotions of excitement and nervousness," Lutsyk said while standing in front of a fire truck before he took the U.S. citizenship oath.

This Sacramento firefighter immigrated to the U.S. with his family from Belarus when he was eight-years-old - speaking very little English and having no friends.

Initially, he was homesick.

"I wanted to go back," Lutsyk said. "My family wasn't sure how long they wanted to stay here, but with all the privileges here and living the American dream, it inspired them to have a better life."

His family linked up with the Slavic community in Sacramento and he learned English, working towards becoming a firefighter by volunteering three years in the reserves. They were on hand to congratulate him.

"Religious freedom, freedom of speech, just having the privileges we have in America today is a big blessing for myself and my family," Lutsyk said.

He received a challenge coin from his chief to commemorate this day, and an American flag - a symbol of the opportunities he has come to know in America.

Lutsyk's sister and his fiancée beamed with pride.

"I'm really excited for him. I'm actually in the process of trying to become a citizen myself, so it's kind of nice to see somebody else do it first," Evialina Pristupa said.

Lutsyk says he's grateful to have his family and his extended firefighting family all around him.

"It's a big deal it's a big day," he said. "The days I get to drive home - even though I might not have slept for 2-3 days - it's ok, understanding I might have made a difference in somebody's life."

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