NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio — After 68 years, a Vietnam-era veteran from North Royalton has received his U.S. citizenship, according to Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.
Robert Rivera was born in Mexico and came to the United States with his father when he was just four years old. Rivera lived in Montana until he was 15, then moved to Cleveland to live with his sister.
Rivera graduated from West High School in 1965 and the next year was drafted into the U.S. Army.
During his time in the army, Rivera served stateside at Fort Hood where he was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 52nd Infantry Regiment, First Armored Division, Gonzalez said.
Rivera earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal and qualified as a Sharpshooter between 1966 and 1968. He even earned the title of featherweight boxing champion for Fort Hood in 1967 and runner-up for the Fourth Army, according to Gonzalez.
During his service, Rivera married his wife Sharon. They have been married for 51 years and have five sons, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
After serving in the army, Rivera moved to North Royalton and worked 35 years as a warehouseman.
Rivera had long hoped to obtain U.S. citizenship but earlier this year, Rivera attended a veteran service event hosted by Gonzalez’s office at the Strongsville VFW post, and finally got on track to do so.
That’s when staff members learned of Rivera's story and service to the country and helped him apply for citizenship.
Gonzalez shared Rivera’s story as his featured constituent of the month.