Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Filipina nurse Menchu Sanchez gets a rare vantage view of President Obama’s State of the Union address before the joint session of Congress.

The Secaucus, NJ resident has been hailed as one of the heroes when Hurricane Sandy devastated large parts of New York and New Jersey last year.

After surging water took out the electricity at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, Sanchez, 56, organized the ICU doctors and nurses to carry 20 critically ill infants down nine flights of stairs with only cellphones to light the way.

“Even as Menchu’s own home was flooding, she thought only of protecting the babies in her care,” the White House explained in a statement.

She was invited by the First Lady Michelle Obama to be one of her guests, who’ll be sitting in the balcony that overlooks the podium delivers the State of the Union address. 

“I’m very excited,” she was quoted on northjersey.com. “This is a dream come true for most people — to meet the president — and I never thought I would get this chance. I voted for him twice and I’ve been following Michelle Obama’s philosophy for years as first lady. I can’t wait.”

She wanted to wear her best “terno”, the traditional dress she wears for socials with the Fil-Am community, but was told to “dress simply”.

Sanchez was born, raised, and educated in the Philippines and she immigrated to the United States in the 1980s.  She has worked as a nurse in New York for more than 25 years, and has been at NYU since 2010.  

When her family heard she was being invited to meet President and Mrs. Obama, her 19-year-old daughter asked to take the place of her father.

The other guests of the First Lady include Alan Aleman, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico City. He is one of the so-called DREAMers who were brought to America as infants or young children by parents who were undocumented aliens.

In high school, Alan watched his friends come of age – driving around town with their new licenses and earning some extra cash from their summer jobs at the mall, knowing that his status prevented him from those activities.

But when he heard about news that the Obama Administration was going to provide Deferred Action for undocumented youth like him to emerge from the shadows, he was one of the first to sign up, the White House said.

 Alan is in his second year at the College of Southern Nevada.  He’s studying to become a doctor and he hopes to join the Air Force.  Alan is currently working at Hermandad Mexicana, where he is in charge of final review for DACA applications. 

Also with the First Lady are Cleopatra and Nathaniel Pendleton, whose daughter Hadiya was murdered on January 29, 2013, when she was shot and killed in Harsh Park on Chicago’s South Side.

Hadiya had participated in President Obama’s public inaugural celebration on January 21, 2013.  The honor student and band majorette at King College Prep High School has become another symbol of the victims of gun violence in the country. 

Mrs Obama attended Hadiya’s memorial service last Saturday.

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