Barbara Hillary Takes the Routes Less Travelled

Posted by: Ursula Zamora on Friday, February 08, 2013

Garden of Life Sponsored Athlete Barbara Hillary is an amazing woman with a list of accomplishments that many aspire to. . .and most of them she achieved after retiring as a professional nurse. Barbara proves that age is just a number and should never stop you from doing amazing things!

After her retirement, Barbara became fascinated with arctic travel. She found new challenges by learning to snowmobile and dog sled in the United States and Canada. As Barbara learned these new winter activities, she became aware that no African-American woman had ever reached the North Pole.


Barbara began training for treks in the arctic temperatures, endurance as well as finding sponsors for her gear so that she could be the first African-American woman to conquer the arctic. On April 23, 2007, after overcoming many obstacles in her path Barbara reached the North Pole at the age of 75.


Four years later, Barbara reached the South Pole at the age of 79 in January 2011.


Barbara is a graduate of the New School University and has earned her Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Professional Studies Degrees. As a Gerontology major, Hillary utilized her education to tailor staff development in nursing homes and related facilities to meet the current expectations of the aging population. This approach included a strong emphasis concerning sensitizing the staff to their own aging process, as deliverers of human services to the elderly.

Hillary has maintained and active role as an advocate for community improvement and was the founder of the Arverne Action Association, Inc. One of her primary goals was to improve the quality of life in Arverne, New York and the Rockaway Peninsula community.

Barbara was the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Peninsula Magazine. The Peninsula was the first multiracial magazine published by an African-American woman in Queens County, New York City. The magazine was a non-profit community focused publication.

Hillary has received many noteworthy awards and honors. These have included the “Spirit of America Award” from the National Recreational Vehicle Association, a Special Acknowledgement from the Explorers Club, and awards from Buck Knives and the “Individual of Inspiration and Dedication” award from the Office of the Borough President, the Honorable Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn, New York. In addition, Hillary received a “Special Citation” from The United States House of Representatives, a Resolution honoring and recognizing her achievements introduced by Representative Gregory W. Meeks. She has also been honored by Sri Chinmoy, a noted visionary and spiritual leader, as an "Individual of Inspiration and Dedication".

In October 2011 Barbara's beloved Rockaway neighborhood was struck by the intense force of Hurricane Sandy. In the coming weeks we will be following up with Barbara and sharing her story of surviving the storm's aftermath, and how she remains committed to helping her neighbors and neighborhood come back from Sandy's devistation. We will also learn more about Barbara's next big adventure!

If you are interested in helping Barbara fund her expeditions or to learn more about this amazing woman, go to www.barbarahillary.com


chloe commented on Friday, January 03, 2014
Barbara Hillary was an amazing woman but what day did she set off to set her journey to the north pole

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