Aug 7, 2009
EMMIE ORTEGA ANDERSON: 2009 Outstanding Filipino Awardee
By Fil-Am Observer Staff
As the founder of Pinoy Power Honolulu Radio Program and an active leader in the community, Imelda “Emmie” Ortega Anderson, was unanimously selected as one of the 2009 Twenty Outstanding Filipinos Abroad (TOFA) by a Panel Board of Judges headed by Nonoy and Aida Mendoza of the Filipino Image Magazine, the Pinoy Global Online News and the Roxanne Andrea Mendoza Memorial Foundation.
Emmie will receive the prestigious award on August 29 during the Gala Banquet and Ball Award Presentations at the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“I’m delightfully surprised and elated yet humbled for this award considering that I’m just an ordinary person providing compassionate service to the community,” said Emmie during a phone interview.
“I would like to share this award to my Pinoy Power team who are dedicated and committed to broadcast news, provide entertainment to the listening public, and promote local businesses,” she added.
Pinoy Power, voted #1 Filipino Radio Program, is heard daily on KPHI 101.5 FM, 1130 AM, and Statewide Oceanic Cable Channel 882 in Hawaii.
Emmie credits her success to persons who have supported her all the way in realizing and building her career.
“I’m thankful to my husband who is the strong foundation in my life and my children. My husband fully understands my hectic schedule,” she said. “I’m also indebted to all the wonderful leaders of the community for their moral support and to all my friends who have surrounded me with their unconditional love,” she added.
Dolly Ortal, a seasoned community leader and a 2008 TOFA awardee, said: “Emmie’s involvement with the ‘Feed the Hungry Program’ and helping the malnourished children of the Philippines evidently shows that she is a compassionate and caring person. She’s a leader and a role model.”
Born to Teresita Collado and Francisco Ortega, Emmie grew up in a small barrio of Mangato in Laoag City, Philippines .
Her family's journey to Hawaii started in 1962 when her aunt married a sakada, Leon Miguel Sr., who came to Hawaii in the 1940s.
"My aunt then petitioned my mom to come to Hawaii and was granted entry in 1965. She was able to obtain her permanent visa when she married my stepfather Eustacio Carnate Andres who adopted me when I arrived in Hawaii in 1970," she narrated.
Just like any immigrant, Emmie had to adjust to a different lifestyle and a new family. Because of her growing up experiences, she was determined to do her best in school, thus she excelled in her schooling and graduated from Lanai Elementary and High School. During her high school years, her mother was diagnosed with mental challenges and early signs of Alzheimers. So the family moved to Oahu to avail of better services and care for her mom.
Emmie held two jobs while attending Leeward Community College working towards a degree in Psychology. She later attended Cannon's International Business College and graduated with high honors in Hotel Management and Business Administration.
In 1985, Emmie met and exchanged vows with John Leon Anderson II, then Vice-President and Regional Marketing Manager for the Prudential Insurance & Financial Services and settled in Woodland Hill, California. Afterwards, the couple moved back to Hawaii.
John Leon and Emmie are blessed with three wonderful children: Jaymie Anderson-Tyau, Johnelle Rozlene, and John-John. "I was fortunate to be a stay-home mom and devoted my time to raise our children," Anderson said.
Emmie received the saddest news of her life when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2003.
"It was devastating to find out that I had a major health crisis and it hit me really hard! When I was initially diagnosed, I felt I was given a death sentence. It took awhile for me to accept my medical condition and again with the grace of God I can now look back and say, “Thank You, Lord, for that awakening!” It puts things into a clearer perspective and gives me a better understanding that my life here on earth is very temporary. My medical condition serves as a gentle reminder that life is indeed fragile and very precious! I have gained a renewed appreciation for each breath I take. But most importantly, I have learned to enjoy and seize each day and live it to the fullest. Each day is a gift from God.”
Aspirations for the Community
As an eloquent radio announcer, Emmie shares her aspirations for the community.
“I would like to see a Filipino-American representing us in the U.S. House of Congress or Senate. Specifically, I wish to see a woman who is strong-willed and is not afraid to fight for what is right,” she said with conviction.
She would like to see peace and unity within the community. In order to attain this, Emmie believes that there’s a Christ-like character in everyone. This character in us must be plumbed, she added.
“If that heavenly-inspired character is realized and shown to other people, probably unity may be fulfilled,” she said.
Pieces of Advice
Her motto in life is from Winston Churchill: "Never, never, never give up!”
"I want to encourage our youths and our children to turn their dreams into realities by doing what it takes to get there and get educated. You might spend all your life acquiring material wealth and possessions, but remember that when we leave our earthly existence, these things are only temporary and we cannot take them with us. So, dream big and reach for the stars, and live your life to the fullest. Make a difference by touching and enhancing someone's life by expressing God's love," Emmie admonished.