Very few national nonprofit organizations can claim the number of committed volunteers across the country and overseas like Wreaths Across America can. Proud patriots from every walk of life come together for a common cause and step up to be sure that no hometown hero is ever forgotten. Wreaths Across America is proud of those individual citizens who motivate others to join them in the mission to remember, honor and teach.

We are humbled by the hundreds of thousands of people who get involved every year on National Wreaths Across America Day at Arlington National Cemetery and at over twelve hundred participating cemeteries in paying tribute to our veterans. One of those passionate and dedicated individuals is Ellen O'Neil Fuller.

Born at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Ellen is the oldest of five children raised by Captain Ray and Patricia O'Neil. Powered by respect for the military and a seemingly endless energy, Ellen inspires others to serve, and she's always quick to call attention to the efforts of others before her own.

Wreaths Across America volunteers Ellen Fuller and Mel Russen (3rd and 4th in line from L-R, bottom row) are joined by some of Mel's Masonic brothers and their wives to ring the closing bell on the NYSE in 2016.

Wreaths Across America volunteers Ellen Fuller and Mel Russen (3rd and 4th in line from L-R, bottom row) are joined by some of Mel's Masonic brothers and their wives to ring the closing bell on the NYSE in 2016.

Ellen first became involved with Wreaths Across America following the passing of her parents. Her father passed away in 2011 and was buried that September. While she was caring for her Mother, she and her family were moved by the kindness of a complete stranger that first December without him.

"I was so touched to see a wreath appear on his grave," Ellen explains. "After Mom had passed in January of 2012, we decided to find out who was responsible for placing that wreath and once we did we decided this is how we would celebrate Christmas as long as we were able." 

Ellen today is the volunteer co-chair for multiple Wreaths Across America groups from the Family Council at Belvoir Woods (her parents' military retirement community) in Virginia to the Wreaths Across America-College Station Aggie Field of Honor, the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, and the U.S. Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado.

"It's my wonderful co-chairs who make this all possible."

When asked why she gives so much back through her volunteerism with Wreaths Across America Ellen answers, "saying their names is such a simple thing to do, but it means so much. I'm a good Navy Junior and the wife of a veteran, but even if I didn't have a military connection, it's just a way to humbly say 'thank you' for those who served, and more importantly to show their surviving family they're not forgotten."

Whether its bell ringing on Wall Street or television interviews explaining our take on the "Christmas in July" slogan, she is constantly on the go for Wreaths Across America. Ellen says her "attitude of gratitude" is built into her DNA crediting her parents' example.

In April, Ellen was honored by Wreaths Across America with the Remember Award given annually to a volunteer who goes above and beyond. She was excited to attend the awards banquet and was ready to head to D.C. when she was pressed into service for a family emergency and could not make the event.

Just as we did Nicole Pelletier, Judy Carlile, Charlotte Chism Waldrum and Diana Pitts Wreaths Across America gives Ellen Fuller a "high five" for exceptional volunteer efforts to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach younger generations the value of freedom.

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