About Us

Merrill Lundgren "The Bucket Man"

Merrill Lundgren "The Bucket Man"

MEET OUR FOUNDER

The founder of Bucketfillers For Life, Merrill H. Lundgren, was affectionately dubbed “The Bucket Man” over seven years ago by middle-school students in his first classroom workshop.

Although The Bucket Man has used the metaphor of the bucket and dipper (created over 40 years by the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton) since 1979 in his well-known quality-of-life seminars, he did not bring the message to schools until 2003.  Since that day in May, the excellent reputation and powerful ripple effects of Merrill’s programs have spread throughout the county.  His work inspired the creation of two children’s picture books about bucket filling and a third book for classrooms and families written by his daughter, Stacey.  A complementary bucket filling company (some call it “competing”) was begun several years ago by a former apprentice of Merrill’s, further spreading the positive message.

Merrill is proud to have served in the U.S. Army Military Police during World War II.  He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day + 4, and he received five Battle Stars for his two years of service in Europe through the end of the conflict.  In 1994, son Peter compiled a manuscript of hundreds of letters that Merrill wrote to his wife, Edna, during the war.  The manuscript, Almost at the Front expertly weaves his letters into actual war events taking place at that time. The manuscript was subsequently discovered by British war historians at the Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds, England.  It, along with some of Merrill’s original letters, is on display at the centre. You may purchase Almost at the Front in its entirety HERE.

The Bucket Man says “My dream of leaving a legacy of love and caring is being realized in ways I could not have imagined.  Not only have thousands and thousands of children benefited from this message, but my own children, Stacey and Peter, joined me in the effort.  I am a happy man!”

Merrill, age 92, continues to co-present in schools and businesses.  He lives in Brighton, Michigan, with his wife of 68 years, Edna.  They have two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

““Kelly Nickel did a fabulous job sharing the BucketFiller message to our student body. He was engaging, funny and thought-provoking. Our students came away from a full day of events with a better understanding of the need to be caring and empathetic with each other. We would have Kelly back in a heartbeat!”

Karen Alati, Character Counts committee chairperson, Lake Grove Elementary School, Lake Oswego, OR
“Thanks again for coming to Kohl, the impact on our school was immediately noticeable. Parents approached me the next day wanting more information because their children came home talking about filling buckets. Below are some comments from the teachers about the programs and the staff development: - I thought it was great, both the assemblies and the PD. Kelly is really good at what he does. - It was definitely worthwhile and gave me some good ideas for the future - The best part is that we can immediately use this in the classroom without much more instruction - I thought Kelly was humorous and positive and I enjoyed his presentations - I LOVED IT!!! Thank you for bringing this into our building, and I hope we can have another one next year - I really liked the assembly and found the after school presentation for teachers inspiring

Eric Warneke, Counselor, Kohl Elementary School, Broomfield, CO
“Mike from Bucketfillers for Life did a great job did communicating the importance and benefits of good character. His presentation was funny, entertaining, interactive, and appropriate for all students Kinder through 6th. His message of creative ways to fill other’s buckets is relevant to all. Thanks again, Mike!”

Brian MacNeill, Principal, Elliot Ranch Elementary School, Elk Grove, CA