Filipina immigrant helps Pinoy community thrive in Utah

by Jared Bray, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Thirty years ago, Eunice Lane made one of the most difficult decisions of her life: leaving her family in the Philippines for a job opportunity in the United States.

“One suitcase,” Lane said. “That’s all I brought to America and the clothes I have on my back and $50 in my pocket.”

She started in Los Angeles and then moved to Las Vegas, working her way up to an executive position at one of the largest hotels in the city.

After reuniting with her two sons, Lane relocated to Utah, where the culture shock hit hard.

“I go to the nearest supermarket to shop for groceries, and I look in every aisle, didn’t see any Filipinos,” Lane recalled. “I felt so strange. I was the only dark-haired person in the store.”

Ten months later, she finally found the Pinoy community and quickly got involved, joining and establishing multiple organizations with and for her kababayans, including the Kulturang Pilipino Ensemble of Utah, Philippine American Association of Utah and Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce.

“I felt like I have a purpose,” she said, “not only to help my family in the Philippines but to help people here.”

Now a high-end realtor, Lane continues to give back.

Her current focus? Producing college scholarships for low-income Filipino-Americans, as well as DACA recipients, through her Utah Asian Charitable Foundation.

“Because,” Lane explained, “I believe what my parents told me — education is the key to success.”

She hopes to inspire and prepare the next generation of Filipinos to lead in Utah.

“Potential leaders that might take over and continue what I started,” she said.

Until then, Lane plans to do what she’s done for the past 22 years in Utah: look for ways to serve others while living her Filipino-American dream.

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