- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - After nine years Svetlana Yatsky’s application for citizenship had finally been approved. She was on her way to Chattanooga’s federal building Thursday morning to swear an oath of allegiance when the family’s minivan broke down on the interstate at about 1 a.m.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (http://bit.ly/OhviAm) the family called 911. Police could not jump start the vehicle, so Sgt. Brian Moseley put the family in his patrol car. He drove them first to the federal building, so they would know where it was, and then to their hotel.

On the way downtown, Yatsky’s husband, Yaroslav Yatsky said the police response would have been different in his home county of Ukraine or his wife’s birthplace of Russia.

“In Russia the police would probably be the first ones to rob us,” Yaroslav Yatsky said he told Moseley.

Thanks to Moseley, Svetlana Yatsky made it to the ceremony Thursday morning.

Yaroslav Yatsky snapped photographs with his smartphone as U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier told the crowd that Svetlana Yatsky and the 48 other new citizens were continuing a tradition of democracy envisioned by the nation’s founders. In Yaroslav Yatsky lap, the couple’s 4-year-old daughter, Anna, clutched a Teddy bear that Moseley had pulled from the trunk of his patrol car and given to her that morning.

Fifty-two more new citizens were scheduled for another ceremony in the afternoon. There are typically two such ceremonies held each year in both Chattanooga and Knoxville. There is one held each month in Nashville.

Both Svetlana and Yaroslav Yatsky completed their interviews with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Jan. 28 in Memphis, a long drive from their new home in Johnson City, where Yaroslav Yatsky is in medical school. He is still waiting for a message with his citizenship ceremony date.

Svetlana Yatsky said after the ceremony that the actions of the police proved to her that her family is in the right country.

They were like angels, they treated us so well,” she said.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com