SAN DIEGO — Keena Mapanao is essentially the perfect choice to sing the national anthem during this year’s “Big Bay Boom 4th of July Special” on FOX 5.
A native of the Philippines, Mapanao and her mom immigrated to the United States when she was 12 years old. Struggling with her accent, she faced bullying. Struggling with finances, Mapanao and her mom faced the difficulty of trying to make ends meet.
But both found paths that led them to where they are today. Mapanao’s mom traded in her three jobs for one as a nurse. And Mapanao found church, where she could thrive as a young person and as a singer.
Mapanao ultimately became a U.S. citizen, started a photography business, became a beauty queen and, like her mom, got her nursing degree. She is now in the most essential job of her life, working in the COVID-19 Unit at Sharp Hospital, helping patients through the challenges they face amid the pandemic.
But she gets to step away from that on Independence Day to sing her country’s anthem in America’s Finest City — essentially a perfectly fitting next step in her American journey.
Whether you watch FOX 5 TV or here on fox5sandiego.com, join us for Big Bay Boom 2020 on Saturday, July 4, at 8:30 p.m.