Craig and Mary Comstock joined their son, Jason, in Cape Girardeau on May 1st for the naturalization ceremony for Irene Comstock, marking the new U.S. citizenship for the native of the Philippines. Also pictured is Jason and Irene’s daughter, Athena, as well as Judge E. Richard Webber who attended the ceremony.

Irene Lim Lo Suy Comstock, wife of Scotland County native Jason Comstock, achieved United States citizenship May 1 in a naturalization ceremony in Cape Girardeau.  Relatives in attendance were husband Jason, daughter Athena and in-laws Craig and Mary Comstock.  The Honorable E. Richard Webber, senior judge of the Eastern Federal Court District and former Scotland County resident, was also in attendance.

Since coming to the United States in 2005 from the Philippines on a work visa, Irene has been striving for US citizenship.  In 2008 she applied for permanent resident status (green card) which she received in October, 2013. As soon as she was eligible, Irene applied for US citizenship which culminated in a moving naturalization ceremony at the United States Courthouse in Cape Girardeau.

Irene holds a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Cebu Doctors University, Cebu City, Philippines. She worked with rehab patients for four years at the Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City and was also a part-time instructor at the University.  In 2005 she was recruited to work in Memphis, Tennessee and later relocated to Cape Girardeau.  She has been employed as an occupational therapist at Chateau Girardeau for 10 years. She and Jason, an attorney with Faber & Brand, married in 2013.  They have a daughter Athena and are expecting a second daughter in October.

The dignified naturalization ceremony was presided over by US District Judge Stephen Limbaugh, Jr.  In his remarks, Judge Limbaugh urged the new citizens to be proud of their heritage and to preserve their culture.  The featured speaker for the event was Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, president of Southeast Missouri State University.  Dr. Vargas-Aburto, who was born and raised in Mexico, became a naturalized citizen in 2016.   During the ceremony, each candidate for citizenship introduced themselves and said a few words.   Many spoke heartfelt words of love for the US and deep gratitude at becoming a citizen.

The highlight of the ceremony came when the eighteen persons from eleven different countries recited the oath of citizenship and then said the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time.

Richard Webber, as well as several judges and attorneys, were present for the ceremony that was held in conjunction with Law Day. Judge Webber will be presiding over the upcoming naturalization ceremony in Hannibal. He stated, “It gives me chills every time I attend one of these ceremonies. It is a great thing.”

Judge Webber served as the prosecuting attorney of Scotland, Schuyler, and Putnam Counties beginning in 1967 and as judge of the 1st circuit court from 1979 to 1996.  President Clinton nominated him for a federal judgeship in 1995 and he achieved senior status in 2009.