The United States has a new naturalized citizen and he's proud to call Brazil home.
"I love this town," Mauro "Mario" Martinez told The Brazil Times. "Brazil is a nice place to raise a family. The people here have been very good to me and my family."
"I was looking for places to open a restaurant, so I came to Brazil," Martinez, the owner of Mario Bros. Restaurant and Double N Dinner, said. "It's a big enough city that travelers going through the area recognize Brazil and remember they were here."
A co-owner of a Greencastle restaurant and owner of restaurants in Rockville and Terre Haute, Martinez has recently purchased and is currently renovating the building left vacant after Lucio's Mexican Cuisine closed.
"It's a busy life," he said. "I make sure to take time for my family."
Work ethics and the drive to succeed were instilled in Martinez by his parents when he was a small child on the family farm.
"(As a young boy,) I remember selling tomatoes grown by my father at the local market," he said. "I believe Brazil has a lot of potential to be a really nice town, but everybody has to work together as a group. Everyone can have success, you just have to work to get it. Look for the opportunity and then go get it."
Becoming a United States citizen was an opportunity Martinez couldn't pass up.
"America is the land of opportunity," Martinez said.
The process for a person from a foreign country to become a U.S. citizen is called naturalization. It consists of three steps, filing an application, taking a naturalization examination and participating in an Oath Ceremony.
Although the amount of time varies for each person, for many it can take more than five years to complete all the required education needed just to pass the test.
"It's hard for many people," Martinez said. "You have to learn so much to pass the 100 questions on the test. You have to learn the whole history of the U.S."
During the approximately two years he studied before taking his test, Martinez said he enjoyed learning history, but admitted to having some trouble learning the grammar part of English. However, he had some help from a tutor, a special fifth-grader at Forest Park Elementary.
"At night after work, I'd study with my daughter," he said. "I would read something and she would ask me questions. I really enjoyed learning about the bill of rights and my rights to freedom of speech as a citizen."
At the Oath Ceremony on Feb. 19, Martinez said he learned how important freedom of speech is in an Indianapolis courtroom.
"A baby was crying before the ceremony and the judge said, 'Let him cry. This is America and he's allowed an opinion. Everyone is allowed to have their say. He will know when to be quiet,'" Martinez said. "When the ceremony started, the judge was right. The baby was quiet."
Martinez wasn't nervous about the ceremony.
"I was excited, comfortable," he said. "I've been in America for 20 years, but I really feel at home now."