Schriever Airmen's Council president becomes U.S. citizen
By Staff Sgt. Don Branum, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 08, 2006
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series about Schriever Airmen who are naturalized citizens.
The newly elected president of the Schriever Airmen’s Council, who joined the Air Force in 2004, is one of the 50th Space Wing’s newest American citizens.
Airman 1st Class Zully Renon originally pursued citizenship so she would be eligible to reenlist but has grown to appreciate what it means to be an American.
When Airman Renon took her oath of enlistment, she wanted financial assistance for her college education and to have a chance to live someplace other than Hawaii.
“Hawaii’s great, but after you’ve lived there 11 years, there’s only so much you can do,” she said.
After going into Basic Training “open general”—meaning the Air Force would assign her to a career field that met their needs—Airman Renon ended up in the finance career field. She came to Schriever following her technical training.
When she started asking about her career options, she found out she would need to be an American citizen before she could consider reenlistment.
“I decided to become a U.S. citizen because I wanted that opportunity,” she said. “I like being here, and working in an Air Force environment is something I want to do as a career.”
Her path toward citizenship started in 1988 when she and most of her family moved to Washington from Mexico. Her father, who had been in the United States since 1976, brought the rest of the family to live with him because of the better living conditions in the states.
They lived in Washington for five years; many members of her family worked in apple orchards. Airman Renon keeps a photo of her family in the orchard in her cubicle next to a photo of her husband, Pablo, and her children, 9-year-old Bella and 7-year-old PJ.
“Those are my hard-working days,” she says with a laugh.
A short list of her accomplishments since coming to Schriever shows that she works just as hard now. She is an active volunteer among the junior enlisted, both volunteering for events such as Sunday’s Veterans Home Run and encouraging other Airmen to participate. She served the Airmen’s Council as vice president in 2005 before being elected president this year.
She worked just as hard to become an American citizen, studying material on American history and government as part of the naturalization process. Her membership in the Air Force expedited the process.
“I turned in my paperwork in January of this year and heard back around March,” she said. “They took my fingerprints for a background check, and I went through a simple interview.”
Then, June 16, she raised her right hand and took her oath of citizenship.
“You realize as you go through the citizenship process what rights you have as a U.S. citizen, and how lucky you are to be in this country,” she said.
The oath shares a common pledge with her oath of enlistment: to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The rights and values written into the Constitution are things no citizen—naturalized or American-born—should take for granted, she said.
“People should learn more about the history of how the U.S. came about and what we stand for,” she said.