Home Properties Employee Becomes U.S. Citizen During White House Ceremony With President Barack Obama

Jun 10, 2010, 11:21 ET from Home Properties, Inc.

WASHINGTON, June 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Home Properties, Inc. (NYSE: HME) employee Berhan Teferi has worked as a service technician for Mt. Vernon Square Apartments in Alexandria, Virginia for the past year. Like any other employee, he needed to request a personal day recently. What made Teferi's day off truly unique was that he spent it at the White House with President Barack Obama! Teferi, a 27-year-old Ethiopian refugee and member of the United States Army Reserves, along with 23 other inspiring immigrants serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, was officially sworn in as a citizen of the United States by the President on Friday, April 23, 2010.

Mt. Vernon Square's Property Manager Lisa Fitterer recalled, "Berhan had previously taken some time off to complete Army Reserves' training, so I just thought this was a similar commitment. He was so incredibly humble about the whole experience; we were shocked when he showed us pictures of himself with President Obama."

Teferi immigrated to the United States five years ago and enlisted in the Army Reserves in November 2008. He is scheduled to deploy this August for a one-year tour of duty in Iraq.

"I was just an ordinary guy in Ethiopia, but there is no profit in being ordinary. I want to give back what I can to MY country, the United States – one that has given me the opportunity to be all that I can be. I feel excited to be part of this country's great history and do my part as an Army reservist," said Teferi.

During Obama's Rose Garden ceremony remarks, the President said of Teferi and the other active-duty service members, "We celebrate the true meaning of patriotism – the love of a country that's so strong that these men and women were willing to risk their lives to defend our country even before they could call it their own."

Upon his return to the United States, Teferi would like to continue his job with Home Properties at Mt. Vernon Square and eventually attend college with tuition assistance from the Army to become a professional photographer and filmmaker.

Teferi also hopes to find ways to help other immigrants who aren't able to help themselves. In the meantime, Home Properties is fortunate to have an employee who truly looks at his job through a lens of service and not work.

"I'm a hard-working person and really love my job," said Teferi. "As long as I am working, I feel I am serving."

Rick Leith, Home Properties' Regional Vice President, Washington, DC, observed, "It's employees like Berhan that make our apartment communities outstanding places to live and work. Berhan's enthusiasm is contagious and he is the epitome of what our employees strive for every day in service to each other and our residents. Home Properties could not be more proud of Berhan's extraordinary efforts on behalf of our country."

Home Properties is a publicly traded apartment real estate investment trust that owns, operates, develops, acquires and rehabilitates apartment communities primarily in selected Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast Florida markets.  Currently, Home Properties operates 110 communities containing 37,494 apartment units.  Of these, 36,344 units in 108 communities are owned directly by the Company; 868 units are partially owned and managed by the Company as general partner, and 282 units are managed for other owners.  For more information, visit Home Properties' website at homeproperties.com.

SOURCE Home Properties, Inc.