CALGARY- He came to Calgary as an exchange student from Brazil to learn English, looking ahead to the future.
But his whole life changed in an instant, after a random act of violence in downtown Calgary.
Now 6 years later, José Neto has embarked on a new chapter on his journey.
Neto received his Canadian Citizenship Friday.
“I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen,” Neto pledged the Oath of Citizenship.
There was a time Jose Neto didn’t think he would survive, let alone fulfill his dream of becoming a Canadian citizen.
As Jose Neto vows to follow the laws of Canada, he can’t help but reflect on his journey to this day.
One night, six years ago, his world went dark.
He was innocently walking with his now wife caught in the crossfire by a stray bullet in downtown Calgary.
The dangerous offender responsible has since been sentenced to an indefinite jail term.
“It’s very emotional, it brings you back to when I first came and I had no idea how Canada was when everything happened and finally becoming citizens it’s very intense.”
Despite the pain he’s gone through in Canada, Neto chooses to count his blessings.
“Canada took my sight away, let’s say but it brought 100’s of new exciting good things. No hard feelings I love this place,” Neto said.
“After the accident all the love and support we couldn’t say no for that and it was a pleasure for us to stay,” Neto’s wife Roberta Ribeiro said.
“Canada has always been a part of us, now we are a part of Canada,” Neto said.
Neto smiled and sang the national anthem as a proud Canadian after earning his citizenship.
Jose is now a massage therapist. He and his wife Roberta, who also earned her citizenship Friday, are looking forward to raising a family of little Canadians.