Honoring Trailblazing Seniors

May is Older Americans Month and this year’s theme is “Blaze a Trail.” We’d like to take a moment and honor the numerous seniors – both Americans and seniors from around the globe – who have accomplished great things at advanced ages, demonstrating that age doesn’t have to be a barrier in living one’s dreams.
Barbara Hillary (pictured above, right) was the first African-American to reach the North Pole, at age 75. Four years later, at age 79, she reached the South Pole, making her the first African-American woman to reach both poles. Barbara, who turns 85 in June, continues her adventures around the globe and is a motivational speaker.
Fauja Singh, at the age of 100, became the first centenarian to complete a marathon, when he ran the Toronto marathon with a time of 8:11:06. He went on to carry the Olympic torch during the 2004 games in Athens and again in 2012 in London, a feat he hopes to repeat at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Kimani Maruge, at the age of 84, enrolled in primary school in Eldoret, Kenya after the government announced universal and free education. He was such an inspiration that in 2005, he boarded a plane for the first time in his life to fly to New York to address the United Nations Millennium Development Summit on the importance of free primary education.
Tamae Watanabe became the oldest woman to climb Mount Everest in May 2002 at the age of 63. Not satisfied with that achievement, 10 years later, she climbed Everest again, at the age of 73, breaking her own record.
Minoru Saito sailed around the world by himself seven times. To make it a bit more challenging, on the eighth trip, he sailed the “wrong way” – westward, against prevailing winds and currents. It took him 1080 days to complete the task. He was 77 years old when he completed the trip.
Minka Disbrow gave up a child for adoption at age 17. She loved her baby girl, but the times and circumstances were such that raising her would have been impossible. She prayed that one day she would be allowed to see her. Seventy-seven years later, her prayers were answered when she was reunited with her daughter at the age of 94.
 James C. Warren, a retired Lieutenant Colonel and former navigator of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces, received his pilot’s license at the age of 87, making him the oldest person in the world to do so.

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