John Ceballos, essay committee chair for the VFW Post 6309, presents Danielle Russell with a certificate for her winning essay for the Voice of Democracy.
Danielle Russell, though a mere 18 years old, is an old soul. Her passion and dedication to American history and patriotism, make her uniquely qualified to serve as the Gilroy Veterans Memorial Hall Honorary Historian. In this role she aids staff and local veterans in researching their military history, serves as fact checker and the finder of lost stories.
Currently, Danielle is a freshman at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania majoring in American history, and minoring in archival studies and Civil War studies. However, she found her passion for American history and patriotism in the fifth grade and today is a self-proclaimed writer, historian, and genealogist. She has continued to fuel that passion through her own self-guided education, including reading historical novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Lucy Maude Montgomery, James M. McPherson, Shelby Foote, and Ron Chernow; visiting historical landmarks; and researching and writing about American history.
She has also demonstrated her commitment to history and her community through membership in the Daughters of Union Civil War Veterans and serving as secretary for the Gilroy Foundation Youth Board. Most recently, she won the local and District 12 Veteran of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Essay Contest for her composition “What Makes America Great.”
Follow Danielle's effort to preserve veterans stories on her web site/blog at:
Honoring Our Heroes Website & Blog or on Instagram: honoring_our_heroes_ca
Read her award-winning essay at VFW Voice of Democracy Winning Essay 2020
Danielle Russell visiting the New Market Battlefield in Virginia in 2019.