In 1986 the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources began to acquire helicopters for their fleet and Mary Ellen, who had extensive experience on their aircraft type, became one of the Ontario government's first helicopter pilots. As a government employee she improved her skills with courses in Deputy Conservation Officer and Aviation Management. Until recently Mary Ellen was the only "permanent staff" female pilot in the 85 year history of the OMNR.
In 1980 Mary Ellen won "Outstanding Service Award" for help in the great Canadian ice story, and in 2008, the P.R.I.D.E. Award for bravery.
Mary Ellen, her husband and two children live in Timmins. All are accomplished musicians. Mary Ellen worked hard to overcome many obstacles in her career path – only woman in secluded bush camps, facing polar bears, and old prejudices towards the capabilities of women in aviation careers. She offers strong encouragement to all women who care to follow in her footsteps and will say "where there's a will, there's a way."