US Ambassador Kyle McCarter and his wife Victoria were on Saturday installed as Tharaka community elders by the Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders.
They were dressed in traditional regalia during the ceremony at Mukothima Catholic Church grounds in Tharaka-North Sub-county.
Mr McCarter was named ‘M’Mugiira’, meaning a person who goes out to look for food for his family.
Residents view the envoy as their son because of the what his family did for them, including constructing a bridge at Thanantu River to connect Mukothima and Nkondi wards, and educating many children from poor families.
Mr McCarter lived with his family at Mukothima between 1984 and 1989. They established a charity called ‘Each One Feed One’, schools, a children’s home and a health centre named after his late father, Calvin McCarter.
The elders blessed the ambassador and his wife at the ceremony which local leaders including Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki and Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara attended.
Speaking after the installation, the ambassador promised to support the community and the country in general in improving the people's lives.
“I have a special attachment to the Tharaka community. I consider it my second home because of the many years I spent here with my family, and the many friends I can still call by name."
Mr McCarter also said the US government would maintain a strong strategic alliance with Kenya to fight threats presented by terror group Al-Shabaab.
“I will do everything possible within my power to prevent Kenya from being used as a terrorist gateway,” he said.
The envoy also said the US would continue partnering with the Kenyan government in the fight against corruption.
He asked Kenyans to stand firm against the vice and the clergy to avoid gifts from corrupt politicians and always condemn them.
The ambassador called for the empowerment of youths by both the national and county governments, noting that the future of any country lies with its young generation.
He also challenged county governments to better residents' lives.
Prof Kindiki said they would use their close ties with Mr McCarter to change lives. He handed the ambassador a list of needs including irrigation projects.