YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It was a strange twist, he admits, but Jason Quarrie, a Youngstown police officer and native of Jamaica came here to vacation.
While the reverse is usually true, Quarrie met his wife and wound up staying Youngstown.
Thursday, the Jamaican native took the oath of citizenship and became a U.S. resident.
“I’m elated,” Quarrie said after the ceremony while clutching his citizenship certificate.
Quarrie, 47, has been in the United States for the last six years as a permanent resident. He said he wanted to become a citizen because he wanted to be able to participate in all the privileges of being an American.
“Your horizons are open to more opportunities now,” Quarrie said.
One of the things Quarrie can do is vote in a presidential election, he said.
Coming from a warm climate to one that experiences sudden changes in temperature and where it appears that more days are gray than not, Quarrie said he is not bothered by the change at all.
“I like to keep cool,” he said. “I shovel snow in shorts and slippers.”
Quarrie was a firefighter in Jamaica and tried to become a firefighter in Youngstown, but he was not able to get on the department because of age limits.
He worked at a Dollar General store before taking the Civil Service test to become a patrol officer. He has been on the force for two years and works afternoon turn patrol.
Quarrie said he enjoys his job.
“I’m glad for this opportunity and I’m very grateful to YPD for everything they’ve done,” Quarrie said.
Staff Inspector Lt. Brian Butler said there is another Jamaican native who works as a call taker in the city 911 Center who is a permanent resident but is taking classes to get her citizenship certificate.