Deon Byrne demonstrates that the popular adage, “The heights by great men reached and kept…” did not only refer to men. The Jamaican pilot made history when she became the first-ever black woman to fly a plane to both Antarctica and the South Pole.
In an article by the Jamaica Gleaner, Byrne expressed that she developed her good work ethic from growing up with a single parent and a hardworking uncle. She spoke of her younger days when she had to work in her uncle’s store, which allowed her to develop good people skills, a great sense of humour, and a passion for mathematics and the sciences, which she believes helped propel her forward to the person she is today.
Before she migrated to the USA at the age of 13, she attended Westwood High School in Jamaica. Upon entering the USA’s educational system, she majored in mathematics and science in high school, as her dream was to become a doctor. After she got to university, she realized that being a doctor was not as fun as she thought it would be.
She then watched the movie “Top Gun,” where she says she developed the fantasy to become a pilot. She then began researching how she could make this dream a reality, but like all dreams, she faced roadblocks and people who told her it would not be possible, but she was persistent and eventually figured out how.
Byrne is a mother and has also been on every continent in the world. In a Twitter post by DR. Norman Dunn, he is seen congratulating the Jamaican-born pilot and expressing that she has made the tropical island proud. In a statement, Byrne affirmed that she is the first black woman to fly to Antarctica and the first black woman to fly to the South Pole.
Also, in another proud moment for Byrne, she flew to the South Pole with another Jamaican pilot, and she expressed that they both felt overjoyed to be “yardies” at the controls of a US Air Force aircraft. Having made her dream a reality after constantly being told it was unattainable, she reminded others to make sure they work hard at something they love because life is too short.