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 had a profound impact at Rother School. Students took away the important message that they effect the lives of others in positive or negative ways. It is common to overhear children advising each other on how to be bucketfillers throughout the campus. Thank you again Kelly, you were amazing!”

Kelly Rizzi, Principal, Rother Elementary School, Redding, CA
"My 6th grader came home today and wrote the most beautiful examples of why he loves and respects his little brother. I’m not sure what kind of event you had at school today, January 28, 2009, but this truly is the most amazing experience we had at home in a long time. I just wanted to take a moment to say that it was great. My boys fight like siblings do, some days more than others. Today (my son) wrote about (his brother). (His brother) listened with tears in his eyes, sensitive to the fact that his big brother really does love him. I have to say that this is one of the most memorable events experienced at Crissman. Totally awesome! Thanks."

A Grateful Parent
Crissman Elementary School
Utica School District
Shelby Township, MI
“Our bucketfilling day with Kelly Nickel was an overwhelming success. Kelly’s visit enabled our school to re-embrace the reasons why building positive relationships is so important. The highlight of the day for me was the parent workshop held after school. Kelly did a terrific job of equipping approximately 40 Pinewood parents with the language and tools necessary to bring the bucketfilling message into the homes of our families. Thank you Kelly!”

Brent Malicote, Principal, Pinewood Elementary School, Pollock Pines, CA