-By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News Bureau

Securing a seat at the State of the Union is no easy task, but this Filipina nurse from Secaucus, New Jersey got the best seat in the house.

Menchu De Luna-Sanchez was invited by President Obama as a special guest and was seated right beside First Lady Michelle Obama.

In his State of the Union Address, the President even mentioned Sanchez’s heroism in the middle of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation in New York.

“We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez, when Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness. She wasn’t thinking about how her own home was fairing, her mind was on the 20 precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe,” said Obama, in homage to Sanchez.

She and other hospital staff saved 20 critically ill babies at the New York University’s neonatal
intensive care unit after the superstorm knocked out the hospital’s power.

Sanchez devised a way to carefully move the babies eight flights down to safety using just their cell phone flashlights.

In an interview with Balitang America, Sanchez said, “Kahit saan tayo pumunta, ang mga Pilipino talaga ay ma-re-recognize sa kabutihan, sa values natin, sa respect natin sa kapwa natin, at sa trabaho natin na we are true to what we are doing, we are always dedicated, dinadala natin na tayo’y Pilipino.”

Born and raised in Catanauan, Quezon, Sanchez graduated with a nursing degree in the Philippines before migrating to America in the 80s.

She has been working as a nurse in New York for 20 years now.

Sanchez said, “Nire-represent ko ang buong kanursingan, kasi alam ko na 80 percent of nurses ng New York City ay mga Pilipino so parang masayang-masaya ako. At least nabigyan ng recognition ang mga nurses. We are always working so hard pero we’re never recognized for the things we do.”


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