Hurricane Sandy produced countless stories of heroism and bravery. One of those stories involved Menchu DeLuna Sanchez, a New Jersey nurse at the NYU-Langone Medical Center, who on the night of Sandy, devised a plan to protect 20 newborns in her care. Her good deed caught the attention of President Obama who invited Sanchez to be his guest at the State of the Union Address last week.
When she received the invitation, Sanchez tells NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that she had to keep it secret until the White House issued a press release of the State of the Union details.
Sanchez described her visit to the White House and the United States Capitol as educational. But when she was seated for the address, she had no idea who would be sitting next to her. Imagine her surprise when she found herself sitting between First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. In addition to the coveted seat, all eyes in the chamber turned to Sanchez when President Obama mentioned her by name during his speech.
“I was so so happy, my heart was overjoyed. It was just an experience of a lifetime for me,” said Sanchez.
Having immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. 25 years ago, Sanchez played down her Sandy heroics, saying she merely did her job.
“I did what I had to do. They have noticed it and I am so proud and so humbled and so honored to be invited by the president and the first lady to be at the White House that day.”