Fort Stewart Associate Becomes U.S. Citizen After Nearly Three Decades of Serving Those Who Serve
After 27 years of serving those who serve, Manuela Hooper is an American citizen.
Originally from Nuremburg, Germany, the Fort Stewart warehouse worker moved to the United States in November 1993, having just married an American Soldier stationed at the nearby town of Schwabach, whom she met through a family friend.
In 1995, Hooper began working for the Exchange as a stocker at Fort Hood. The following year, she PCS’ed with her husband to Fort Stewart, where she has remained since and now works at the 4th Infantry Brigade Complex Express.
Hooper said she was moved to become a citizen after seeing her husband, who deployed three times to Iraq, and the Soldiers she’s served at Fort Stewart work so hard to defend their country.
“I see the Soldiers as the heart of America, because they fight for their country, for our freedom,” Hooper said. “I’ve seen firsthand the Soldiers coming in from the field, tired and thirsty from working hard out in the heat. I love my job, because nobody supports the troops like the Exchange does. Like we say, we go where you go.”
Hooper began the process of becoming a citizen in November 2019, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic just a few months later made it difficult to get appointments with the Atlanta U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.
“I applied online, and then it took me over a year to get an appointment to get an interview,” Hooper said. “I was nervous, because English is not my first language, and even though I’ve been here so long, I was still worried I would come across something I didn’t understand.”
Hooper took the opportunity to squeeze in some extra study time for her citizenship test, with her Exchange teammates helping her prepare for the big day.
“My manager [4th BCT Express Manager Marianne Crouch] supported me the whole way through this experience,” Hooper said. “They were all supportive and amazing. They knew how nervous I was, so they would ask me random civics questions for the test. I was really happy with the support I received from my work, my husband and my family.”
On June 8, Hooper passed the test. She was sworn in as a U.S. citizen the same day.
“We have a Fourth of July fest every year on Fort Stewart, and that was the best Fourth of July ever,” Hooper said. “Everything fell into place so perfectly. When they played the national anthem, I put my hand over my heart and felt it: I’m an American. It was very, very touching to my heart.”